Northern Ireland: Political Situation

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 12:43 pm on 8th September 2015.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 12:43 pm, 8th September 2015

I do recognise that it cannot be business as usual. That is why the Prime Minister has moved swiftly to establish this fresh talks process, to address with urgency precisely the questions the right hon. Gentleman has outlined. Of course, overshadowing all this is the fact that two individuals have been brutally gunned down on the streets of Belfast.

The right hon. Gentleman raises the matter of criminality among members of the Provisional IRA. Any criminality is to be condemned, whether or not it is committed by a member of a paramilitary organisation. Whatever label these people choose to give themselves they are criminals, and the PSNI has the Government’s full support in pursuing them and bringing them to justice and putting them in prison where they deserve to be.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned suspension. As I said in response to the shadow Minister, we do not feel it would be right to do that in the current circumstances. If those circumstances change dramatically in the future, we will of course keep all options open and consider them all.

I fully agree with the right hon. Gentleman’s statement about the subject matter of the talks and the Stormont House agreement. We are not renegotiating; we are simply finding a way to relieve the blockage of implementation and make sure that the agreement is implemented in full.