Northern Ireland: Political Developments

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:43 pm on 28th March 2017.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon Independent, North Down 12:43 pm, 28th March 2017

Sitting as an independent Member, I am a very interested participant in, and bystander to, these talks. From my experience of past negotiations, I think it could be really important, at this crucial stage, for the Government to try to change the dynamics of the talks. There is no point in heading into them with the same repeated arguments.

Will the Secretary of State give serious consideration to bringing back to Northern Ireland a senior American diplomat, who is well known to all the parties, so that she can chair the talks? Her name is Barbara Stephenson. I have not spoken to her about this—she is being volunteered without her knowledge—but it strikes me that she was the American consul in Belfast for a long time, and she is well known to the parties and highly regarded in Northern Ireland.