§ Rev. Ian Paisley
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 that should have urgent consideration, namely,the setting up of an inquiry into the events surrounding the kidnapping and murder of Corporal James Elliott of the Ulster Defence Regiment by the Irish Republican Army and the subsequent recovery of his body".This matter is specific. The House is aware of the brutal murder of Corporal Elliott, but may not be aware that his relatives have had to take the unprecedented action of issuing a statement concerning the way in which his body was tortured and mutilated. The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) has already mentioned this matter in the House today. As Corporal Elliott was one of his constituents, I have already notified the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South of my intention to raise this matter, and I have his support.
The Army has issued conflicting reports about this matter, and so have the police, to the great distress of the wife of the man who was tortured and so brutally murdered, and to the great distress of the whole neighbourhood.
The matter is important because it must be seen, now that this Parliament has responsibility for matters in Northern Ireland, that each side of the fence is equally treated. As the hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder) has mentioned, there is to be an inquiry by the Director of Public Prosecutions into the shooting of Mr. Joe M'Gann, a leader of the IRA. The suggestion is made that one of the soldiers who fired on M'Gann may be prosecuted in the courts for 1787 manslaughter. It is, therefore, imperative that it should be seen that if there is an inquiry into the shooting of an IRA leader there should also be an inquiry into the brutal and dastardly murder of a member of Her Majesty's Forces.
I suggest to the House that it could help to ease the situation in Northern Ireland by acceding to my request.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) was courteous enough to give me some hours notice of his intention to make an application under Standing Order No. 9 this afternoon, so I have had an opportunity of considering it.
The hon. Gentleman asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely.
the setting up of an inquiry into the events surrounding the kidnapping and murder of Corporal James Elliott of the Ulster Defence Regiment by the Irish Republican Army and the subsequent recovery of his body.I have listened carefully to what the hon. Gentleman has said, and I have also heard what has taken place today in the House during Questions. I must make it clear, as I have done before, that this is only a procedural decision for me, and my decision is no comment upon the merits of the matter. I have to decide whether discussion of this matter, which I think everyone will regard as a tragic affair, should have precedence over the business of the House. I am afraid that I cannot submit the application to the House. There are other ways in which the hon. Member can pursue this matter of an inquiry.