Northern Ireland written question – answered on 9th July 2014.

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Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Labour, Vauxhall

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will list the people who are known to have received the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by Letters Patent or under any other authority, in the last 20 years; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Since 1997, no Letters Patent have been issued in Northern Ireland in relation to the Royal Prerogative of Mercy (RPM). Where the RPM was used in this period by the previous Government, it was effected by means of a Royal Warrant.

As the hon. Member is aware, my Department continues to seek information on the use of the RPM between 1987 and 1997, including through contacts with other parts of Government which might hold relevant information.

As the hon. Member is also aware, the assessment of my Department is that to release the names of individuals granted the RPM years ago would not be appropriate, given the time that has passed since the RPM was last used and the potential legal issues this would raise. There are of course means by which names of RPM recipients become public, including in the course of legal proceedings, which is a matter for the courts.

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