The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill, which continues its passage through Parliament, will establish an independent body to conduct reviews of troubles-related deaths and serious injury, with the primary objective of providing information to families, victims and survivors. The Bill seeks to ensure that the process for dealing with the past focuses on measures that can deliver positive outcomes for as many people affected by the troubles as possible.
Legacy is an extremely complex and sensitive issue. In setting up an effective information recovery process, we must ensure that power is in the hands of victims and their families rather than the perpetrators. What consultations have the Department had with victims and their families, to ensure that the right balance is achieved?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right that legacy remains a highly complex and difficult issue. The Government are absolutely determined to deliver mechanisms that deliver better outcomes for those most affected by the troubles, including victims and their families. I know that no solution we will ever find will be perfect or easy, but we are working tirelessly to find a practical way forward via the legacy Bill. As for engagement, I and my ministerial colleagues have had over 60, nearly 70, engagements with groups and individuals, and we continue to meet people on a regular basis.
The Government have made some changes to the legacy Bill during its passage through this House. If the changes are not enough and all Northern Ireland parties vote against it again on its return to the House, will the Secretary of State commit to a different approach, as reconciliation cannot be imposed on Northern Ireland?
I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his place and hope that all is well with the shadow Minister he is replacing, Tonia Antoniazzi. The hon. Gentleman has big shoes to fill, but that is a good start. I thank him for noticing what is going on in the other place, where we have already tabled amendments that seek to address a number of key issues raised by the stakeholders we have been meeting, including compliance with the European convention on human rights, strengthening the commission’s independence, sanctions for individuals found guilty of lying to the commission, and stronger incentives for individuals to engage with the commission. We will table more such amendments on Report, when I hope we can get everybody on board, or at least to acknowledge that we are doing a decent job.