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Investigation of Veterans

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:41 am on 16th May 2019.

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Photo of John Penrose John Penrose The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 10:41 am, 16th May 2019

To vote on it, and to confirm the important point, on which my right hon. Friend and I agree, that no rancid deals have been done.

My right hon. Friend asked whether Sinn Féin-IRA, as he characterised them, demanded a price in the talks. Not to my knowledge at all, but I think that goes back to his point about no rancid deals.

My right hon. Friend asked when the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland would make a statement on our plans. I think the answer to that is as soon as we have had a chance to discuss the issue in detail with different parties, both in Northern Ireland and here. I hope all Members will understand that while there is agreement on the direction and the outcome that everybody wants, the details matter hugely. He gave examples of real concerns about the initial set of Stormont agreement proposals for dealing with legacy. He could have given examples about other concerns. We have to deal with those and come up with proposals that work in detail and that have acceptance from all sides of the community in Northern Ireland. It is worth everybody’s while to take a little bit of extra time now to get the details right to come up with a process that everyone can live with, and to do the detailed design work—the pre-legislative scrutiny, if you like—so that we get that essential work right. The answer, therefore, is as soon as we decently can, but given the sensitivities involved and the precision required to come up with a process that, after decades, will stand the test of time and of warring views within Northern Ireland society, I hope my right hon. Friend will understand that we need something that is robust and put together with enormous care.