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Ending Suspension

Part of Orders of the Day — Northern Ireland Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:15 pm on 8th February 2000.

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Photo of Mr Andrew Hunter Mr Andrew Hunter Conservative, Basingstoke 9:15 pm, 8th February 2000

I tabled amendment No. 20 in the spirit of the words of my hon. Friend the Member for East Londonderry (Mr. Ross) to avoid the ambiguity and obtain the clarification that is lacking. As clause 2 (3) stands, before making a restoration order, the Secretary of State must take into account the result of the review conducted". I submit that a requirement to take into account is wholly inadequate and what is needed is the requirement contained in amendment No. 20. First, the Secretary of State should be required to publish the complete text of the review that has been undertaken and, secondly—and more importantly, in the light of the general thrust of our debate this evening—he should be required to publish the complete text of any report from the commission on decommissioning.

At this stage, with little time left, I shall not rehearse the arguments again, because they have been forcefully presented by many of my right hon. and hon. Friends. The Government have totally failed to convince us as to why the de Chastelain report should not have been made available to the House and amendment No. 20 would ensure that that would never happen again.