HC Deb 20 December 1971 vol 828 cc1126-7
Mr. McMaster

Mr. Speaker, I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter which should have urgent consideration, namely, the exploding of more than 20 bombs in the centre of Belfast and other Northern Ireland cities this morning by Irish Republican Army terrorists with intent to kill, maim and injure many of Her Majesty's subjects and to cause widespread destruction and damage to business and private property in the centre of Belfast on a busy morning when crowded with Christmas shoppers, as well as people on their way to work, in order to further their attack on innocent men, women and children, on members of the security forces, and upon the Government of this country, so that they may obtain control over a part of the United Kingdom against the wishes of the overwhelming majority by violent and seditious means". I submit that although today's events follow murderous attacks within the past week upon two Senators and other persons in public life, and a campaign of murder and violence which has now led to the death of more than 200 people, the majority within the last six months, and the maiming and injuring of many others, this is a fresh series of outrages, and should be viewed on its own.

I ask you, Mr. Speaker, as I do the several noisy hon. Gentlemen opposite, to consider what they would do if, one morning, 20 bombs were set off in the centres of their constituencies. I believe that this issue should be viewed separately and on its own, and that one must ask oneself how one would react if ordinary law abiding citizens in the United Kingdom, to whom this House has an overwhelming duty, were attacked in this way? Could there be a more serious attack than, without warning, to let off a bomb in their midst, injuring and maiming many of them?

I would submit that an attack of this nature, which is deliberate and well organised, is the most serious crime known to our Statute Book. Therefore, this application should be dealt with, in spite of the fact that we are well into Session and have other urgent business to consider before the recess, and in spite of the fact that other applications of this nature have been refused—some in the past week. This is a most outrageous occurrence and it is absolutely unthinkable that such wanton attacks on private people, including women and children, should not be dealt with. Therefore, this application should have preference over the other business of the day.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member has made an application in the terms which he has already stated to the House.

I regret that I cannot give his application precedence over the other business of the day.