Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 8th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Phillips of Sudbury Lord Phillips of Sudbury Liberal Democrat 6:45 pm, 8th November 2000

My Lords, the key to this debate is the assertion by those noble Lords who have spoken in favour of the amendments that if the name is changed to the one in the Bill, and if the "Royal Ulster Constabulary" is abandoned as the name, that will have no impact on the composition of the police force in Northern Ireland thereafter. If that be true, I would have to vote in favour of the amendments. I am sure that most noble Lords would feel the same.

However, it seems to me an improbable assertion--and it is an assertion. It is improbable in one obvious particular--namely, that the very passion with which the argument that there must be no change in the name is advanced, must surely beget in the Catholic community an equal and opposite sense that there is a great significance in the continuance of the name "Royal Ulster Constabulary".