Patrick Finucane: Supreme Court Judgment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:32 pm on 30th November 2020.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 5:32 pm, 30th November 2020

I would say to my hon. Friend, who chairs the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, that shortly after the statement in March, when we discussed legacy issues with victims groups, they asked us to pause because the people they represent were facing the challenges of covid. I felt that that was the right thing to do, so we paused that engagement. Over the last few weeks, I have been talking to civic society, as I do regularly, and people across civic society and across the communities obviously have a huge interest in legacy.

The point I have made consistently since the written ministerial statement in March this year is that, to move forward on legacy and to move forward in Northern Ireland, we have to bring people together, and as my hon. Friend rightly says, people across communities have to be clear about what they need to look forward and get the information that can lead to reconciliation. It is right that we engage widely and deeply with civic society and victims groups, as well as political parties and our partners in the Irish Government, before we come back with proposals. I am determined to do that. We have a duty to do that—a duty to the people of Northern Ireland—but we want to do that in a methodical and proper way. I hope people will see that going through these investigations in a methodical and proper way plays a part in that.