HC Deb 23 July 1970 vol 804 cc755-6
Q8. The Rev. Ian Paisley

asked the Prime Minister if he will make an official visit to Northern Ireland in the near future.

The Prime Minister

I have no plans to do so, Sir.

The Rev. Ian Paisley

In view of the undemocratic and iniquitous decision of the Northern Ireland Government announced today to ban Loyalist processions next month in Ulster, does the Prime Minister not think that he should go to Ulster and hear the views of all sections of the community, not like the previous Prime Minister who failed to come to us?

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary paid a visit to Northern Ireland shortly after the Administration took office and the Northern Ireland Prime Minister has since been to London. I have had discussions with him.

Dealing with the announcement by the Northern Ireland Government today, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and the whole of the Administration welcome it and the fact that Northern Ireland is now returning to normal system of policing, together with a ban on all processions for at least six months. This will enable the security forces to be relieved of many of the burdens upon them whenever a procession takes place.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

Has the right hon. Gentleman any proposals which would tend to make the hon. and reverend Member more assiduous in his duties in the House than he has been hitherto?

Mr. McMaster

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that if we are to return to the normal system of policing, the police are properly armed—[Hors. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—so that they can deal with situations such as that which occurred in my constituency three or four weeks ago when three people lost their lives and 24 were injured and the Army was unable to cope with the situation?

The Prime Minister

I recognise the difficulties which arise from these individual incidents. I should have thought that everyone in the House wanted Northern Ireland to return to a normal existence in which the police are unarmed.

Mr. Paget

On a point of order. May I inquire why the hon. Member for Antrim, North (The Rev. Ian Paisley) is referred to on the Order Paper as "reverend"? As far as I understand it, he has neither religious qualifications nor office other than those which he has conferred upon himself.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I deprecate the raising of points of order during Question Time. It cuts valuable time. The simple answer is that the hon. Gentleman is a "reverend".