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Mr. McGrady spoke eloquently in Committee about the nature of elections in Northern Ireland. It is well worth repeating some of his sentiments, to explain—particularly to those outside the House—the widespread support for the amendment.
For some political parties, elections in Northern Ireland have for many years been an extension of the armed struggle. They are now a substitute for the armed struggle. They are militarised and they are conducted by men with guns who will fight, intimidate, bully, kneecap and sometimes murder to make sure that people turn out to vote in the way that those men want—not once, not twice, but as many times as they can get them to the polling station in whatever guise they can be bullied into adopting. That is the nature of an election in Northern Ireland, so it is no surprise that the turnout in elections there is continually high: it is the result of widespread militarised fraud conducted by paramilitaries.
It is splendid that the Government have introduced a Bill which at last attempts to tackle the problem of fraud in Northern Ireland elections. One party in particular undertakes such fraud. It is trying to squeeze out the party of the hon. Member for South Down, and it is in danger of doing so.