Terrorism

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 2nd March 2016.

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon 11:30 am, 2nd March 2016

What steps the Government are taking to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the security services in tackling terrorism in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Conservative, Northampton North

What steps the Government are taking to support the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the security services in tackling terrorism in Northern Ireland.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Keeping people safe from terrorism is one of the Government’s highest priorities. The PSNI and its security partners have our fullest support. Funding for the intelligence services will increase significantly over the course of this spending review. The PSNI will also receive an additional £160 million to combat the security threat. [Interruption.]

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Speaker of the House of Commons

Order. I remind the House we are discussing terrorism in Northern Ireland. These are extremely serious matters and I hope Dr Offord will be heard.

Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

I welcome the new commitment to a pledge of office, but does my right hon. Friend agree that the passive acceptance of values is not sufficient, and that there must be an active fulfilment of them?

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

I agree that both the pledge of office and the fresh start agreement itself will be judged on implementation. Experience in Northern Ireland says that making a declaration or getting an agreement is only part of the journey. We are determined to see the fresh start agreement implemented in full. Implementation is going well, not least with the establishment of the panel to set out the strategy against paramilitarism.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Conservative, Northampton North

Will my right hon. Friend take this opportunity to recognise the tireless work of the PSNI and MI5, whose efforts continue to ensure that the vast majority of the people of the Province of Northern Ireland remain unaffected by dissident threats?

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

I can certainly do that. They have our fullest support, as set out in the Conservative manifesto for Northern Ireland. Their courage and dedication is saving lives in Northern Ireland on a daily basis. They remain one of the main targets for attacks by dissident republican groupings, but they put their own safety on the line to defend the whole of the community.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn

If, as the Secretary of State wants, we withdraw from the European Union, what assessment does she think the PSNI will make of the loss of the use of the European arrest warrant?

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The Government’s position on these matters is clear and has been set out in a number of documents published in recent days. What we are all agreed on is the essential nature of the co-operation on security matters between the UK and Ireland, and the crucial importance of that continuing, whatever the result of the referendum.

Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

Will the Secretary of State do what she can to unite the community in support of the police against terror? Does she agree that that job would be made much easier if senior police officers, who this week took a decision to relocate memorials to murdered colleagues away from public-facing positions in police stations into back offices, reconsider that decision and relocate them, and ensure that the campaign against terror gets support right across the community?

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

I will certainly reflect on the hon. Gentleman’s point about the location of police memorials, but it is crucial to build support for the PSNI across the community. Support is at one of its highest ever levels and I welcome that fact.