HC Deb 16 January 1975 vol 884 cc655-6
3. Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what further consideration he has given to Northern Ireland's parliamentary representation at Westminster.

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. Stanley Orme)

None, Sir.

Mr. McNair-Wilson

Will the Minister say whether Northern Ireland representation at Westminster is to be made contingent upon whatever the Convention may propose or on simple terms of democracy?

Mr. Orme

As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Convention will be free to discuss all aspects of the political situation in Northern Ireland, but the Government do not see this as a central issue.

Mr. Flannery

Does my right hon. Friend agree that no matter what the representation of Northern Ireland is or is not at a fixed moment in this House, it is the extent to which those representatives introduce democracy, especially for the minority in Northern Ireland, which will ultimately determine the happiness of the people of Northern Ireland?

Mr. Orme

I agree with my hon. Friend's opening remarks. What the Government want to see is an extension of democracy in Northern Ireland itself. That is why we place so much emphasis on the Convention and that is why we want the Convention itself to be a success. We hope that, flowing from that Convention, a form of devolved government acceptable to both communities in Northern Ireland will arise.

Mr. Evelyn King

The right hon. Gentleman said that the Convention will be free to discuss all aspects. Did he mean that? Does he mean that the Convention will be free to discuss the repre- sentation of Northern Ireland in this House?

Mr. Orme

The ultimate decision will rest with this Parliament as to whether any changes are made in that regard, but it will be a Convention of elected Northern Ireland people, and they will be free to discuss all the facets of this problem.

Mr. Powell

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that United Ulster Unionist Members not only wish to see but demand the same democratic rights for the people of Northern Ireland as are enjoyed by those in Great Britain?

Mr. Orme

I understand that. That point has been made very forcibly to the Government. We want to see the same democratic rights as appertain in Great Britain also appertaining in Northern Ireland.