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Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:49 pm on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Tony Lloyd Tony Lloyd Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 2:49 pm, 5th November 2019

Let me join the Secretary of State in applauding the fact that the House has seen fit to move the Bill so swiftly through the House today. I want to place on record our thanks to my colleague Lord Hain and Lord Duncan, the Minister involved, because they were instrumental in ensuring that this House had the opportunity to move things forward.

I want to say to those with us today who are victims, representing many other victims, that this Bill would have been necessary had there only been one victim of this kind of abuse. We know that many thousands suffered—thousands more than will come under the ambit of the scheme, because many of them have already died, and we cannot offer anything by way of recognition or compensation to those people. But today we are saying to those who are with us that we recognise what took place, and it is a matter of real and profound shame to every one of us in this country. It is also a matter of anger, and we should use that anger to ensure that we are determined to do everything we can to insist that this cannot be the pattern for the future. We know that sexual abuse will take place in Northern Ireland and in the whole of the United Kingdom. This should impel us to do everything we can to protect our young people and those who are victims, because we have to learn the lessons of the past.

That is the triumph for those who have been through this campaign. They have campaigned for themselves and those they represent, but they have also campaigned on a much wider basis—they have campaigned for decency and justice for people across this land of ours. The real emotion that was rightly expressed by the Secretary of State, by my hon. Friend Stephen Pound and by others is not just about empathy. It is because we profoundly believe in the need to ensure that there is justice for those who have campaigned and those they campaigned for and, in the end, to set a different moral tone around this issue for the future. This is a good Bill, and I thank all our colleagues for making it possible to pass it today.