New clause 1 - Discrimination in appointments

Part of Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 11th March 2003.

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Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Conservative, Spelthorne 2:30 pm, 11th March 2003

If we were not

quite ready, Mr. Amess, we are now. I welcome you to the Chair. You missed some riveting discussions this morning.

When we adjourned for lunch, we were considering new clauses 1, 2 and 3. A number of Members had spoken, and we had covered a lot of ground. I had spoken for only a couple of minutes, so I had not said a great deal. I will summarise the point that I was making, as it is crucial to the debate.

It may be simplistic, but I believe that it is reasonable to say that the origins of many of the problems of Northern Ireland and much of the cause of the violence in recent years lies in discrimination, both imagined and real. I do not say that the discrimination was not real. There was discrimination against one of the two communities in Northern Ireland. Much action taken with the aim of solving the problems of Northern Ireland has sought to eliminate that discrimination. Many arguments advanced by the Patten report and much of the reasoning for a complete review of the old Royal Ulster Constabulary were based on the fact that there was considered to be discrimination in how the RUC was set up and how it operated and recruited. Against the background of ending perceived and real discrimination, these changes have come about.