HC Deb 16 July 1970 vol 803 cc1718-9
Q1. Mr. Arthur Davidson

asked the Prime Minister if he will now meet the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

Yes, Sir. Tomorrow, Sir.

Mr. Davidson

Will the Prime Minister use the occasion of that meeting to pay tribute to the significant part which the statesmanlike and moderate words of the Prime Minister of the Irish Republic played in cooling the passions of those who feel strongly that the Orange walks, however well ordered they may be, are provocative? Will he also pay tribute to the temperate manner of the minority in Northern Ireland during the walks?

The Prime Minister

I paid tribute to the attitude taken by all people in Northern Ireland in the message which I sent to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland earlier this week. I gladly join the hon. Gentleman in the tribute which he has paid to Mr. Lynch.

Captain Orr

Will my right hon. Friend convey to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland the feeling of gratitude of the whole House to the security forces who have managed to bring about an atmosphere in which the wishes for peace of the great majority of the people of Northern Ireland have triumphed over the purveyors of disorder and disruption?

The Prime Minister

I sent a message of appreciation to the General Officer Commanding in Northern Ireland, and he has sent me a message of appreciation in return.

Mr. Latham

Would the right hon. Gentleman take the opportunity to make some inquiries into the circumstances of the hon. Member for Mid-Ulster (Miss Devlin), who is in prison in Northern Ireland? Also, in his discussions, would he point out what a gesture of conciliation it would be if the Northern Ireland authorities were to release the hon. Member?

The Prime Minister

I could not agree with the last part of the supplementary question, but my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will be talking to the Minister of Home Affairs in Northern Ireland tomorrow morning and he will be able to discuss certain aspects of this matter with him. There are other aspects which my right hon. Friend the Lord President has in hand.

Mr. Callaghan

When the Prime Minister talks to the Northern Ireland Prime Minister about affairs in Northern Ireland, will he discuss with him the question of the next march which we have to fear or look forward to—that of the Derry boys in August? Many people think that it could be much more provocative than the last march, and I hope that it will be discussed.

The Prime Minister

We appreciate the possible seriousness of the situation. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has already had discussions about this matter and he will continue them tomorrow.

Mr. McMaster

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that those responsible for the riots and appalling loss of life and injury in Northern Ireland recently are the extreme republican elements?

The Prime Minister

I think that the fact that last weekend passed off peacefully has given considerable gratification to the House. We must now look to the future.

Mr. McManus

As a gesture of good will to the minority, and to reassure them, will the Prime Minister, when talking to the Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, ask that gentleman to sever his links with the Orange Order?

The Prime Minister

These are internal matters for Northern Ireland which I would not discuss with the Prime Minister.