HC Deb 12 May 1983 vol 42 cc934-74 4.30 pm
The Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. John Patten)

I beg to move, That the draft Northern Ireland Act 1974 (Interim Period Extension) Order 1983 which was laid before this House on 10th May, be approved. It might be for the convenience of the House if with this we were to take the draft Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978 (Continuance) Order 1983.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)


The Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bernard Weatherill)

Order. If there is any objection, we must take the two orders separately. I judge that there is an objection.

Mr. Patten

This order, which is the ninth of its type to come before the House since 1975, extends the period of direct rule by 12 months until July 1984. When the House considered the equivalent order last year it was in the context of the detailed debate on the Bill that passed into law as the Northern Ireland Act 1982.

I was grateful, as was my right hon. Friend, for the compliments paid to some of my ministerial colleagues earlier this afternoon for the efficiency with which they have conducted direct rule. The Government recognise that, for all its virtues, direct rule does not provide a settled and stable framework for the long term. Therefore, the Assembly was set up in an attempt to respond to the particular needs of the Province. Meanwhile, however, the machinery of direct rule must be maintained and I commend the order to the House.

4.31 pm
Mr. James Molyneaux (Antrim, South)

The Minister said that tributes had been paid to others of the Northern Ireland Office ministerial team. If it appeared that he had been omitted, it was not intentional. If I remember correctly, it so happened that his subjects did not feature prominently in the selection of questions. May I, on behalf of those on this Bench and those who have been here, express appreciation for all that the Minister has done during the period that he has occupied his office in Northern Ireland? That goes for all who have to deal with health and social services and, perhaps more important, for the many customers of that vast Department.

My hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth) and I have done all we could to persuade the Minister to accede to the many varied and sometimes extravagant requests of constituents. I do not say that the three of us have succeeded in giving them satisfaction, but we can claim that we have done our best, and I thank the Minister, those in his Department and his colleagues for all they have done to deal with the many human, social problems that have arisen in the Province during their term of office.

The Minister reminded us that we were being invited to renew the Northern Ireland Act 1974. You, Mr. Deputy Speaker, are well versed in the technical reasons why we must go through this operation once a year. We have renewed the Act on nine occasions. On each occasion the implication was that we were renewing it for another period of 12 months and that we might not be required to renew it further. We get a little weary of repeating the exercise, knowing perfectly well that we will not be in the happy position of avoiding the annual renewal.

It is not that we object to devoting our time to this necessary operation. My main objection to the renewal procedure is that we are giving to all and sundry, to trouble-makers — political and terrorist — a standing incentive to keep up their dirty work in the hope that they will eventually get their way. What could be more encouraging to terrorists than to say in effect, "Here we are assembled in the Parliament of the United Kingdom declaring that we will think about the future of Northern Ireland. In the meantime, we invite Parliament to extend Northern Ireland's membership of the United Kingdom for another 12 months."? Surely that must put in the minds of terrorists and those who wish us ill the notion that if they try hard in the succeeding 12 months they might bring about what they desire, which is the detachment of Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom.

No hon. Member, least of all anyone representing Northern Ireland, would disagree with the Minister when he says that direct rule is not an acceptable method of governing Northern Ireland. We have seen its failures and defects. Those hon. Members who have had to live and work closely with it recognise the defects more than other hon. Members. It is not a question of tinkering with direct rule. My aim and desire is to get rid of it.

Here I am not entering into what is supposed to be the larger argument of integration versus devolution. Instead of saying that we will go on with this ramshackle, unacceptable, unworkable system for another 12 months and try to convince people that it will work, we ought to address our minds to how we can make government work in Northern Ireland as it works in the rest of the United Kingdom. The short answer is to get rid of government by Orders in Council. That is not pushing Northern Ireland over the dam in regard to any future system of government, but simply acknowledging after 10 years, taking into account the first year after 1974, that the system is defective, unworkable and unacceptable and trying to decide what we can put in its place. We will not be in a strong position if we come back, as we probably will, to another Parliament to ask for the renewal of the temporary arrangement for the 10th, 11th, and 12th times. There will be no end to it.

My hon. Friends share my confusion over why Northern Ireland cannot be included in more Great Britain Bills, thereby making them United Kingdom Bills. Some say that that would disturb and distort the pattern of the old Stormont statute book and thereby destroy the integrity of that package of statute law, but that is an imaginary objection. The law under which Northern Ireland has been governed for 50 years has been based on statutes made, presumably, in the old Irish Parliament, in Parliaments of the United Kingdom, in Stormont itself and now by Order in Council in this Parliament.

There is another argument. I am sure, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that if you were not compelled to observe a position of neutrality in these matters you would agree that when the Government of the day want to they can conveniently arrange for Northern Ireland to be covered by an Act of Parliament. Those of us who sit up late at night can remember an experience many years ago. My right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) and I were about to take ourselves off after the main business of the day had been concluded. When we looked at a Bill which did not mention Northern Ireland in its title, we made the surprising discovery that not only did it include Northern Ireland, but that it related to Northern Ireland alone. It was concerned with company insurance.

The Bill had been drafted and introduced because the European Parliament in Brussels, which likes to consider itself the superior body in the Economic Community—which you and I, Mr. Deputy Speaker, would not concede — had directed that insurance legislaion should be common throughout each member country, though not necessarily throughout the EC.

The Commission had laid down that there could not be two sets of insurance legislation within the same nation, and, hey presto, the Government of the day decided that they had better carry out the orders of Brussels and bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the member states. They probably thought, "We shall not say anything about it. We shall not make too much fuss. After all, we have said over the years that we cannot introduce Bills for Northern Ireland alone, as that would violate the integrity of the Stormont statute book." Accordingly, a Bill that dealt with Northern Ireland alone passed through all its stages in one evening. That destroyed for ever, in our minds at least, the myth that the United Kingdom Government cannot safely, properly and respectably legislate for Northern Ireland except by Order in Council.

We must come to terms with this problem. We must stop pretending. Whatever the future holds for Stormont and Northern Ireland in a legislative sense—whether we have, as we hope, a devolved structure at Stormont, a real structure similar to that which was taken away in 1972, or whether we move in another direction — such issues have nothing to do with the argument that if we are to claim that we are governing Northern Ireland from this House we must carry out that process of government by means of a system no different from that under which England, Scotland and Wales are governed as components of the United Kingdom.

We must get rid of the fatal defect—it is one which costs lives—of this one-year-at-a-time approach. Surely the time has come to get rid of the notion—it is one that we have implanted in the minds of many undesirables —that we are merely renewing the lease on Northern Ireland for 12 months. It constitutes a standing invitation to them to carry out their murders and campaign of disruption. They may well think that if they can sustain the momentum they will ultimately get their way. Nothing would do more to dishearten and demoralise—

Mr. John Patten

The hon. Gentleman is surely not suggesting that if the Act were dropped, as it were, terrorist activity would suddenly cease.

Mr. Molyneaux

I have not said that there could be a guarantee that it would cease. However, if I were involved in terrorist operations and were determined to achieve the objective that is shared by many who claim that they do not support terrorist objectives, I should take great encouragement and great heart from the spectacle of Her Majesty's Government renewing the order year after year. We are being invited to make the ninth renewal and we shall be invited to do so for the 10th time next year. In effect, we are saying, "We shall not do anything permanent about Northern Ireland. We shall merely extend the lease."

We are not talking about a 99-year lease. The lease is nothing like as generous as one might expect for a flat in London. We are being asked to hold Northern Ireland on a 12-month lease. There is the clear implication—this is how it appears to the terrorists—that if the undesirables try their damnedest they might succeed in their objective.

4.44 pm
Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

It has been the custom of the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Patten), on the many occasions when he has commended Northern Ireland orders to the House, to explain the reasons why the orders have been laid before us. It was noticeable that he failed to do so today.

It must strike hon. Members as surprising that this is such essential business before dissolution tomorrow that these two pieces of Northern Ireland legislation have to be pushed in at this almost last gasp.

As the Minister did not enlighten the House, I think it right that the reasons should be understood. They are not uninstructive and they should, perhaps, be understood outside the House as well as inside it. The order is required by 16 July and the following order is required by 26 July. We are to have a general election on 9 June and not 9 July. After making due allowance for Her Majesty to open Parliament and for a debate, which might be protracted, upon the Queen's Speech, it must occur to anyone engaging in the computation, either with a calendar or with his fingers, that there should be plenty of time after the Queen's Speech is disposed of in the first Session of the new Parliament, for this business to be taken. Why, then, do we have to complete this business before the present Parliament comes to an end?

I put aside the unworthy notion that the business might be likely to pass with less comment, less debate and less opposition—the same argument applies to the following order—if the business is slipped through at a time when hon. Members are anxious to be in their constituencies. I have reason for thinking—if I am mistaken, I am sure that the Minister will correct me when he replies—that the Government are not sure that there will be time between 9 June and 16 July for this business to be taken by the future House of Commons.

There is only one set of circumstances that might cause the Government to be in doubt about that, but it is for the Minister to produce what in his view are the real circumstances that the Government have in mind in which there might not be time between 9 June and 16 July to get through all the requisite initial proceedings in a new Parliament and to direct our attention to this renewal order. Those circumstances are that it might prove difficult to form an Administration based upon the House that will be returned on 9 June.

Your knowledge of history, Mr. Deputy Speaker, will assist you to recall that on a number of occasions Governments have been returned with a minority. Nevertheless, they have tried their fortune—they are constitutionally entitled to do so — and have suffered defeat on the Division on the Queen's Speech. So behind all the brassy, hubristic self-confidence which we have at Question Time, and which is publicly exhibited by the Government, that they will return with a triumphant majority, here in the comparative privacy of this debate is the evidence that they are far from sure that they will be able to command before 16 July a House of Commons that will take this business.

It seems that they are asking the House to deal with this business in the event of there not being a Government in the House of Commons after 9 June, and before the expiry of the order, who are capable of dealing with the business. Hon. Members should remember that we are talking about 26 July as well as 16 July because there is an order to follow the one that we are now discussing. The Government are putting up this business now to make sure of it.

I have done my best to supply the omission in the Minister's speech. It is up to him to explain whether my conjecture is correct. If it is not, let him explain how there cannot be sufficient time between 9 June, the general election, and 26 July, or a day or two before that for safety, to deal with the second order, not to mention the first, for which the annual period elapses on 16 July.

What would be the consequences if the order were not passed? Northern Ireland would still remain part of the United Kingdom. The position of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom does not depend on the statute which is renewed by the order. Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom because it is represented in this House. It is included in the definition of the United Kingdom which stands on the statute book. Therefore, if we sweep this away, as it deserves, the status of Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom will remain unaffected. There is no need for anxiety or alarm under that head.

What would be different? The law would in future have to be made for Northern Ireland in the same way as it is made for any other part of the United Kingdom. We are invited to pass the order today so that Northern Ireland may continue to be legislated for differently from the United Kingdom, and I will specify the respects in which the difference exists and which is maintained by the order but which would disappear if the House decides, as I trust it will, not to pass it.

First, we should have the same control over subordinate legislation applying to Northern Ireland as all hon. Members have over subordinate legislation which applies to their constituencies. The Importation of Milk Act, which we passed two days ago, contains a clause which contains a lie. The lie is that orders made under the provisions of that measure are subject to parliamentary procedure, some being subject to the negative and others to the affirmative procedure, but that is a lie.

Those who are briefed—I do not think the Minister from the Department of Trade would have been briefed on what is an arcane point—and those of us in the know appreciate that the statute which is being renewed by the order neutralises what the House did in that clause on Tuesday and provides that, whereas there would be an opportunity of praying against an order if it were made for the rest of the United Kingdom, there shall be no opportunity—the negative procedure is wiped out—for Northern Ireland.

Whereas in the rest of the United Kingdom there would be the necessity of an affirmative order, if it applies to Northern Ireland we take our chance on the grace of the Administration to find time, perhaps in Committee, for us to discuss it formally on a formal resolution which would have no effect if it were passed. Thus, the first effect of what we will do if the House is so unwise as to approve the order today is to continue to deprive Northern Ireland of those safeguards on delegated, subordinate, legislation which apply to the rest of the United Kingdom.

The second and major effect of the order is to preserve legislation for Northern Ireland by Order in Council. It will enable the law in Northern Ireland to be made not as it is made for the rest of the United Kingdom, by procedure by Bill in such a manner that the Bill can be amended, that its individual parts can be taken separately, that it can be explained, discussed, altered if necessary, with an opportunity for reconsideration on Report and for continued debate in another place in the light of what has happened here or in another place.

None of that holds for Northern Ireland because of the legislation that is renewed by this order. Legislation by Order in Council is renewed by the order, not, as my hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) said, because there is no other way of legislating for Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland can be, and is, included in United Kingdom legislation, just as Wales and Scotland are. We have instances of that. But as my hon. Friend observed, not without justifiable bitterness, those other instances arise where the requirement to legislate has been enforced on Parliament from outside as a result of that deplorable servitude which this House suffers as a result of our membership of the European Community. Therefore, nothing stands in the way of our turning out this order tonight. Legislation will continue for Northern Ireland as and when necessary, as it continues for any part, or the whole, of the United Kingdom, except that it would have to be done in the proper way, by Act of Parliament.

It may be said, and while I hope that the Government will not say it, I give them the opportunity to do so, "Yes, but you are so unimportant that you do not deserve a clause, not even an application schedule, in a United Kingdom Bill. Now that we have this 1974 procedure, we shall go on renewing it every year so that instead of having to treat Northern Ireland in this respect like every other part of the country, we can continue to do it by order. After a superficial debate—of one and a half hours, or a little more by accident or grace — with no possibility of amendment, that will be the end of the matter, and that is how you will be treated."

If it is for the sake of saving the time of the House, let the Minister say so. Far from the order and the renewal procedure by Order in Council saving the time of the House, it wastes it, because it means that whatever we legislate for Great Britain or any part of it and wish to apply to Northern Ireland, we must apply completely separately, with the whole bureaucratic—drafting and so on — process repeated. That means our keeping the House up at an unreasonable hour so as not to trench upon time with Orders in Council applying to Northern Ireland. If it is the object of the Government to save time, let them deal with legislation which applies to Ulster as they deal with that which applies to the north-west, north-east, south-east or County Durham.

Hon. Members on these Benches do not claim more time than our fellow Members. We claim only as much as they enjoy, as of right—the opportunity to discuss the principle of a Bill which is to apply to the whole of the United Kingdom when it is first applied. Let us take our chance. We may not get called on Second Reading, but let us at least have the opportunity to take part in debate on the principle of the legislation, instead of being told, "This Bill does not apply to Northern Ireland; look at the application clause. This is a Great Britain Bill. What are you doing here trying to take part in the debate, taking time away from other Members?"

Let us take our share, with the rest of the United Kingdom to which we belong, in establishing the principle. Then we should be able to consider, with the rest of hon. Members on the Floor or in Committee, clause by clause, those enactments which are to become articles of an Order in Council—as a result of the order that is before the House — unalterable, undiscussable and unamendable. We should be able to listen to the arguments. We might be able to throw our weight in favour of those who wanted to amend them. Our voice along with other parts of the kingdom could be heard.

I will not dilate further on the subject. It surely is superfluous to argue before this House the merits of the way in which we have legislated over the centuries. Do not deprive us, by this order at the end of this Parliament, of the right to be legislated for in exactly the same way. We are saying, "Let us be treated like anyone else. Let legislation and subordinate legislation in the Province be like legislation and subordinate legislation for the rest of the United Kingdom." We ask no more. We shall be satisfied with no less.

I give notice, as has my hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, South, that we shall not go on indefinitely putting up with this order being renewed year after year. The Minister may say, "What sort of language is this? Are they threats and bluster that the right hon. Gentleman is uttering?" Not at all. We are going to use—

Mr. John Patten


Mr. Powell

I shall answer my question and then the Minister may intervene. We shall use the method by which Members of the House and parties of the House will be applying in general throughout the coming election campaign. We shall say to those whom we represent, "Are you or are you not in favour of the continuance of this annual renewal of direct rule?" We shall say to them, "We, for our part, are against it. In your name and with your backing we shall present the petition which, with your backing, attains the strength of demand, that we shall no longer be subject to the consequences of this renewal order of the 1974 Act."

Having thus considered what will be the consequences if, as I trust, this order is not passed, let me mention one thing which will not be the consequence; there will be no inhibition upon the introduction into the House and the passage, if the House agrees, through the House of any such form of government for Northern Ireland as, in its wisdom, it may decide. If it decides, as it did for instance in the previous Parliament, that there ought to be some form of legislative or other devolution in Northern Ireland unknown to the rest of the kingdom, then nothing in this order will assist the House in doing so; nothing, if this order is not passed, will inhibit the House from doing so.

We are not, therefore, concerned with any proposals or counter-proposals concerned with the future constitution and government of Northern Ireland. We are concerned simply with removing a legitimate grievance under which the people of Northern Ireland have suffered these past nine years. It was a hasty Bill cobbled together by the right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees). Perhaps the first time it was permissible to say, "Give it another year. That is all right. Let it pass for another year." We should be highly culpable and reprehensible if, year after year, we sat idly by and allowed these provisions to be renewed and allowed this deprivation of those whom we represent to be continued.

Sir, if such thoughts ever passed through the mind of the Chair, you must have wondered, after this argumentation, what can possibly be the reason why the Government proceed to maintain the 1974 Act and this misbegotten annual progeny of that Act. You might say, "What is in it for them?" Sir, it is now 11 years since I remember standing over there and telling the House to its face that the prime responsibility for the bloodshed, loss of life and destruction in Northern Ireland lay with the House. I have never wavered in that opinion. The responsibility and the blame lies here. We incur it in the way in which I told the House then we incurred it—I know it seems very funny to the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) who sits there sniggering when the agony of Northern Ireland and its true causes are being discussed. The hon. Member for Antrim, North has nothing better to do than to snigger when these matters are being discussed in the House. He would do better—

Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)

What about the time the right hon. Gentleman went into the Lobby to support this Act and the Labour party? Let us get the truth of the matter.

Mr. Powell

The hon. Gentleman would do better to stay away and abuse this House and Parliament from long range instead of coming here to make a mockery of it by his presence.

Rev. Ian Paisley

I shall be back when the right hon. Gentleman will not.

Mr. Powell

When those remarks are finished, and Nemesis will have heard them, I return to tell the House how it is responsible for the continuance of bloodshed in Northern Ireland, made itself so early, and has continued since. The ambivalence of its treatment of that Province is an invitation to the assumption that, if not of the Government or the House, there is somewhere an underlying dominant purpose to find a way to get rid of Ulster out of the United Kingdom and to form an all-Ireland state of which Ulster would form a part. This farce that we are going through now—the renewal of the 1974 Act—is part of that ambivalent action. My hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, South was right. It has been avowed from time to time.

The excuse that is given for denying Ulster the rights of the same processes of legislation as of the rest of the country is that we want to keep the Northern Ireland statute book separate. What would anyone think was the virtue of keeping the Northern Ireland statute book separate? It is not upon the assumption that there will be a restoration of the Government and Parliament which existed before 1972. That is not what it is about. That is not what has entered into the Government's mind, nor that of any Government since 1972. It is in order that the Province may be treated so separately, legislatively and in other respects from the rest of the United Kingdom, that its transfer, its easing across into a different context, into a different nexus—a nexus with the Irish Republic—shall be facilitated.

Those who watch events in Northern Ireland and watch the mind of Government in relation to Northern Ireland do not mistake the purpose. Every time we renew this order they say, "Yes, it is all right. The Government or their advisers are still persisting upon course. Sooner or later, if we keep on with the violence and keep up the pressure there will be that combination which, throughout his life, de Valera said would be the way to unite Ireland—a combination of Ulster autonomy, separation and the English interest—and which will produce the intended result".

There is no continuance of terrorism without the prospect of success. Terrorism feeds on hope. Terrorism feeds on the realistic degree of achieving its aims. There is no terrorism where there is no prospect or invitation, but here there is invitation. This order is part of the invitation — which the British Government issue annually — to those who desire by force and terror to prise Ulster out of the United Kingdom to carry on because the enduring purpose it spells out of the British Government is the same as theirs.

This is not only a constitutionally indefensible order, in the sense that it deprives the people of part of the United Kingdom of rights to which they are entitled, but it is an evil order, because it is part of that ambivalence by Government and Parliament on which feeds the violence that destroys and harasses our fellow citizens. Let us throw it out. If it is not thrown out in this Parliament, there will come a Parliament when it is thrown out.

5.10 pm
Mr. James Kilfedder (Down, North)

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) has spoken as a constitutionalist. I speak as a representative of people who have suffered at the evil hands of IRA terrorists. I speak as one who has to deal with the problems of the Ulster people — those seeking homes, those living in substandard homes and those protesting about the rates burden and the potholes in the road, which their money does not seem able to repair.

I speak on behalf of those who want places in schools for their children and a future for those children when they leave school. I speak on behalf of those who are looking for beds in hospitals, for the injured and the elderly. I speak not as a "constitutionalist", but as one voicing the opinions, hopes and fears of the Ulster people.

I have been dissatisfied with direct rule, for reasons which I have fervently and frequently expressed in the House and outside over the past nine years. All of us recognise that it is a most unsatisfactory way to rule any part of the United Kingdom. It is unacceptable that we should not be able to amend the Orders in Council, that we often debate them late at night and that there is a time limit on those debates.

However, I shall support the renewal of the Act which allows the continuation of direct rule, and I shall do so without hesitation or apology to the House, the people of Northern Ireland or the constitutionalists who bare their hearts to the Chamber as though they were protecting Parliament and the people from a terrible evil. The evil in Northern Ireland is clear enough, and constitutionalists will not protect the people from gunmen or from the activities of the bureaucrats who have governed Northern Ireland for far too long.

I support the renewal of the Act, because we have a Northern Ireland Assembly. It may fail—

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

It has nothing to do with the order.

Mr. Kilfedder

I do not want the right hon. Member for Down, South to criticise my remarks.

Mr. Powell

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Kilfedder

No. I will not give way to the right hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Powell

It does not depend on the order.

Mr. Kilfedder

I do not want instruction from the right hon. Gentleman. I have great respect for his intellectual capacity, but the Ulster people put more store by common sense and what we call gumption. Gumption has been lacking in what the right hon. Gentleman has said in the House on behalf of his constituents. I believe that they disagree with him.

We have a Northern Ireland Assembly—

Mr. Powell

Not because of the order.

Mr. Kilfedder

The Assembly was created only about six months ago.

Mr. Powell

It has nothing to do with the order.

Mr. Kilfedder

The right hon. Gentleman says that it has nothing to do with the order, but he wants to destroy the Northern Ireland Parliament. He wants the doors of the Stormont Parliament building locked and barred against the Ulster people. That is not what the Ulster people want. I speak the truth and the right hon. Gentleman remains silent.

Mr. Powell

I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving way to enable me to point out that the failure to renew the order would not affect the operation of the 1982 Act, which, together with the 1973 Act, brought the Assembly into existence.

Mr. Kilfedder

We listened to the right hon. Gentleman's speech in silence. I hope that he will allow me to make my short speech in relative silence. I am sorry that he did not offer himself to the people of Down, South as a candidate for the Assembly. Perhaps he would have learnt the value of the work being done by many Official Unionists, including some from his constituency, who are eager to see the Assembly succeed.

Behind everything that the right hon. Gentleman says — he dresses it up in constitutional and highfalutin language, but the truth is plain to the Ulster people—is the fact that he wants the lights to go out in Stormont. If that happens as a result of the activities of the right hon. Gentleman and some of his colleagues, it will cause great anger among the Ulster people. The reasons for that are simple, but the right hon. Gentleman may not understand them, because he is not aware of the sufferings and hardships of the ordinary men, women and children who live in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Powell

Where does the hon. Gentleman live?

Mr. Kilfedder

The Northern Ireland Assembly was brought into being six months ago. It may fail, but let us give it a reasonable chance. It has already proved a valuable means of permitting elected representatives to question and to scrutinise the bureaucracy which has arrogantly spread its dictatorial hand over Northern Ireland.

I am confident that, given a reasonable chance, the Northern Ireland Assembly will progress to a second stage, when executive and legislative powers will be devolved to it. That progress depends largely on elected members, not only in the Assembly, but in this House, proving by their responsibility and dedication to the Ulster people that they are worthy of having additional duties and responsibilities devolved to them. That is the way forward for government and administration in the Province.

It would be ridiculous to vote against the order. Of course, those who oppose the very existence of the Northern Ireland Assembly and wish to bring it to an end do not say that directly, honestly, frankly and clearly to the Ulster people. They speak of making Northern Ireland no different from any other part of the United Kingdom and of wanting laws in Great Britain to apply fully and immediately to Northern Ireland. However, they would be the first people to attack the Government and the innocent Under-Secretary who opened the debate if they said that the British laws on divorce, abortion and homosexuality were to apply forthwith in Northern Ireland. They would immediately knock on the door of the Northern Ireland Office. Their representatives here would attack the Government for their audacity in changing the law in Northern Ireland. That shows the fraudulent arguments that they put forward in this Chamber.

The argument is not about timing, but about the very existence of Stormont. I do not wish to prolong the debate. It is with the greatest reluctance that I support the order, but I support it clearly and happily in one sense, because I am positive that the Northern Ireland Assembly will succeed.

Mr. Powell

The hon. Gentleman said that it may fail.

Mr. Kilfedder

It may fail, but I am confident that it will succeed. It will succeed because—[Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues scorn and scoff at those who work so hard in the Assembly, and particularly in the Committees, which spend hours scrutinising Northern Ireland legislation and questioning Northern Ireland Ministers.

The right hon. Member for Down, South says that he and his colleagues will fight the coming general election on this issue. He is naive or else contemptuous of the Ulster people if he thinks that he can bring this argument to Ulster and win. The Ulster people will react angrily if he is honest and frank in his declarations. However, he will not speak directly on the subject but will talk about the iniquity of direct rule and claim that he wants the old Stormont back, with all its old powers forthwith, but if that does not happen he would rather have complete integration.

The campaign of terror by the IRA will not be brought to an end by the complete integration of Northern Ireland into the rest of the United Kingdom. If that were possible, I would vote with the right hon. Gentleman in the Division Lobby at the end of the debate, but that will not happen. I speak as one whose family has suffered at the hands of the IRA. Therefore, I can speak for all those who have suffered, and I have visited many of them. Sadly, there are other hon. Members who have had far more constituents injured or killed as a result of the activities of the terrorists —those evil men who are manifestations of Satan In Northern Ireland. They will not end their campaign of violence because of the constitutional arguments that the right hon. Gentleman has advanced this afternoon. They will not end their campaign of terrorism as long as Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. They want to take Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom. It does not matter whether this order is renewed. It is senseless to say, as the right hon. Gentleman has, that the renewal of this order will allow for the continuation of terrorism.

I feel passionately about this matter, and I make no apology for voicing the feelings of the Ulster people. If the Assembly fails we can look at the matter again, but we have to give the Assembly and the Assembly Members a reasonable time to do their work.

Mr. Powell

That has nothing to do with the order.

Mr. Kilfedder

The right hon. Gentleman keeps saying that, so I know that his party's election campaign will be fought on a false prospectus. The Ulster people do not like direct rule, but they see in the work of the Committees in Northern Ireland proper scrutiny of legislation and an attempt to influence Government thinking. We see the possibility of moving to greater powers.

One example of this is that the problems of Northern Ireland housing were dismissed in a few hours upstairs in the Northern Ireland Committee, in a most unsatisfactory way. The Northern Ireland Assembly Committee has been able to spend hours debating the problems and intends to return to the matter time after time. Therefore, I shall vote, without any apology and without any shame, for the renewal of the order.

5.25 pm
Mr. Gerard Fitt (Belfast, West)

Mr. Deputy Speaker, you have just seen the opening shots being fired in the general election in Northern Ireland, and from what you have seen you will readily admit that we shall see an election with the maximum amount of finesse and decorum. This has been brought about by the decision of the Labour Government to increase the number of Northern Ireland seats from 12 to 17.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) has at least been consistent. He has advanced once again his argument for complete integration.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

No, I have not.

Mr. Fitt

The right hon. Gentleman has done it very subtly and has argued that the order does not mean anything. The order may not mean anything to him in the constitutional sense in which he puts his argument, but if the order were not passed it would have the completely opposite effect from that which he has suggested. The IRA would then say, "We are on the road to total integration." Non-renewing of the order would escalate the violence.

I do not believe the suggestion made at Question Time that every time that the Secretary of State has a meeting with the Taoiseach in the Republic or with any Republic Minister the IRA goes out of its way to escalate the campaign of violence. That is clearly incorrect. The IRA has an objective that is not affected by the order or the debate or by the meetings between British Government Ministers and the Ministers in the Irish Republic. The IRA has its objective and will persist with that objective irrespective of what views may be expounded in the House.

The right hon. Member for Down, South can be respected for his intellect but not for his vivid imagination. He said that the Government were having the order debated today because they were frightened of the result of the forthcoming general election and that they were not too sure of being re-elected, and suggested that Unionist Members might hold the balance of power in the new Parliament and would prevent the Government from reintroducing the Act. However, whatever party is returned, it will make no difference. A Labour Government first introduced the legislation, and a Conservative Government have reintroduced it every year. Therefore, the 10, 11, 12, 15 or perhaps a hell of a lot fewer Ulster Unionist Members will have no effect on whatever Government result from the next election.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

Why are we debating the order now?

Mr. Fitt

The right hon. Gentleman asks why we are having the debate now. His memory need take him back only to the day before the summer recess, or the day before the Easter recess, or the day before the various holidays that the House has had for him to remember that we always debate Northern Ireland on that day—something that I have always resented. All the Englishmen, Scotsmen and Welshmen are away home. I am sure that there are hon. Members running up and down the corridors bitterly resenting the right hon. Gentleman because he has warned them that they have to stay here when they want to be away getting their election addresses to the printers.

I include everyone here, because we may be hearing more than one valedictory speech in the House today.

I remind right hon. and hon. Members that it was the right hon. Member for Down, South who blackmailed the Labour Government, with their very small majority, when he used all his considerable powers of persuasion to force a reluctant Government to arrange a Speaker's Conference with a view to increasing the number of Northern Ireland constituencies from 12 to 17. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman realised that the constituency which he represented then would be very different from the one that he will contest in the coming general election.

If the divisions in the House that we see today are anything to go by, it may be that the right hon. Gentleman will have more than one opponent in his constituency. It may be that the animosity, hostility and political disagreement that is so evident in the House today will ensure that there is a Democratic Unionist candidate, together with an Official Unionist candidate, a Sinn Fein candidate and an SDLP candidate. The right hon. Gentleman may not be back, and we shall watch this space with interest when the nomination papers are deposited in Downpatrick town hall on nomination day.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

When is that?

Mr. Fitt

The right hon. Member for Down, South is right. In effect, the order separates Northern Ireland from the other parts of the United Kingdom. The order proclaims loudly to the heavens that Northern Ireland is different. It is not like Scotland, Wales and England. Who in his right senses would say that Northern Ireland was no different from the other parts of the United Kingdom? We do not have soldiers and police with guns and armoured vehicles in Scotland, England and Wales, even though we see a disturbing trend in certain events occurring in the other parts of the United Kingdom. Fortunately, people are not being killed in the other parts of the United Kingdom. The atrocious, bitter and ruthless murders that have happened in Northern Ireland do not occur in any other part of the United Kingdom. We do not need a standing army to keep the peace in the other parts of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland is different, no matter how much the right hon. Member for Down, South says that it is not.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

I did not say that.

Mr. Fitt

The order was introduced into Parliament after the downfall of the Sunningdale Executive. I believe honestly, fervently and sincerely that there is no hope for peace in Northern Ireland if we proceed along the path plotted for us by the right hon. Member for Down, South, which is one of total integration. That will never bring peace to Northern Ireland.

The Sunningdale agreement was the best possible hope for Northern Ireland—

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

There you are.

Mr. Fitt

The right hon. Gentleman mutters, "There you are," as though the Sunningdale agreement was a source of shame. I do not believe that that agreement is anything to be ashamed of. It was reached by politicians with conflicting political ideals who sat down together and tried to resolve the dilemma of Northern Ireland and to bring about an Executive that would act in the interests of the whole community. I do not apologise for that. I would not apologise for it even if I thought that this might he my last speech in the House.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

It could be.

Mr. Fitt

I have tried to represent my viewpoint honourably, irrespective of IRA murderers or others who object to the political views for which I stand. I cling tenaciously to the belief that the only hope of peace and progress in Northern Ireland is by the reinstitution of something akin to the Sunningdale Executive.

It is important that we should renew the order. I have no great feeling for rushing into the Division Lobby to support an order which continues direct rule. Direct rule has many defects. But when I listen to some of the schizophrenic speeches by hon. Members representing Northern Ireland constituencies, it occurs to me that it is a very good idea that the Speaker of this House does not have to fight elections. If he did, he might have to show that he was not as impartial as he claimed to be. We have just heard a speech by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder). If anyone doubted the impartiality of the hon. Gentleman, his doubts would have been underlined today.

Mr. Kilfedder

From time to time, the occupant of the Chair has to fight an election. I seem to remember that our present Speaker was opposed by a Welsh nationalist candidate in the last general election. But I think that I speak on behalf of all dedicated Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly when I say that everyone wants that Assembly to survive. The hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) ought to recognise that. I occupy the Chair in the Northern Ireland Assembly, but my position over there has nothing to do with this House. My view is that when I occupy the Chair there I ought to give expression on behalf of all those hon. Members to what they think.

Mr. Fitt

I am not arguing with the hon. Member for Down, North. What I am about to say will reinforce my attitude. Incidentally, I do not remember the hon Member for Down, North or any of his colleagues voting for the establishment of the Assembly. I was the only Northern Ireland Member to vote for it. I wanted to see that Assembly come into operation in Northern Ireland, with all its defects, in the hope that everyone who was elected to that Assembly would discuss Northern Ireland affairs with his fellow Members.

I have read some recent election literature published by the party which I formerly led, the SDLP. It spoke of a tale of three cities—Strasbourg, Washington and Dublin—and described how these meetings were taking place in those three cities with the intention of determining the future of Northern Ireland. In my view, that is foolish. In fact, it is positively dangerous. The only place where the future of Northern Ireland can be decided is Northern Ireland itself.

That was why I supported the proposal to establish the Northern Ireland Assembly, and that Assembly should be allowed to remain in being, no matter what the fate of this Government may be, so that it is a forum which allows representatives of the majority and minority communities in Northern Ireland to try, however difficult it may be, to find some political accommodation which speaks with one voice for Northern Ireland. That is the only voice that will drive the terrorists into oblivion. No matter what is said here, in Washington, in Strasbourg or in Dublin —indeed, many of the statements made there could spark off the terrorists — it is the people of Northern Ireland in their own Parliament speaking with a united voice who will instil fear into the hearts of the IRA and all the other paramilitary organisations.

It is necessary to renew the order. I shall vote for it not because I want to see a continuation of direct rule but because I believe that, if it were defeated, it would be a green light to every terrorist organisation in Northern Ireland to take to their own trenches.

5.38 pm
Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)

In these final debates on Northern Ireland at the end of this Parliament it should be said loudly and clearly for the people of Northern Ireland that they know that their destiny is in their own hands, and I thank God for that.

Unlike the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), who pins his faith on this Parliament and the destiny of my people on what this Parliament does, I pin my faith on the people of Northern Ireland.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell

What about Sinn Fein?

Rev. Ian Paisley

I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman said that, because he is the man who indicts the founders of Northern Ireland — the Carsons and the Craigavons, who rejected the Parliament of the United Kingdom when it passed its Home Rule Act. They not only rejected it, but armed the people of Northern Ireland to reject it. Thank God that the right hon. Member for Down, South was not leading the people of Ulster then, because if he had been they would have been sadly betrayed and sold to the enemy.

There are people in Northern Ireland who have faith in themselves. The right hon. Member for Down, South tells me not to come back to the House. He would like to hold the key. He would like to hold the ropes and close the door to people who disagree with him, but when the election comes the people of Northern Ireland will return to the House those whom they wish to represent them. No Northern Ireland Member will have the right to say who shall come back and who shall not. That will be decided, thank God, by the ordinary people of Northern Ireland, about whom the right hon. Gentleman is completely ignorant. They are from a different place and a different race, they hold different convictions and he knows nothing about them.

Mr. Powell

They elect me.

Rev. Ian Paisley

It is not for any Member of the House to tell me that I should not be allowed here because of my attitude to this place when it touches the core and vitals of Ulster people — the need to ensure that the people of Ulster are never subjected to government from Dublin and that no Dublin Government ever have any jurisdiction over them. I warn the right hon. Gentleman that if this Parliament, the next Parliament or any other Parliament decides that that is to be the lot of the people of Ulster, they will utterly reject that and will fight to the death to see that Ulster remains outside the Republic. They will have no help from the right hon. Gentleman and his kind but, thank God, they will not need it. They will stand as they have always stood—with courage, strength and determination in their own convictions.

Mr. Powell

And they elect me.

Rev. Ian Paisley

To use a slogan well known to the Ulster people, but unknown to the right hon. Member for Down, South, they know that their cause is good and will be maintained.

On this final day of this Parliament I make no apology for any action that I have taken in my political career to defend the right of the Ulster people to remain outside a united Ireland. I make no apologies for the stoppages in which I took part and in which the right hon. Gentleman's hon. Friends took part on one occasion. I make that clear. I do not stand here as a penitent or a Cinderella weeping in this House as though Ulster should not be allowed to be represented here. I am part of the United Kingdom and I am entitled to come to this House if I am elected to it.

I am glad that there is freedom in this House to express the views that I hold and that the keys of this Parliament do not dangle at the belt of the right hon. Member for Down, South. If the Official Unionist party were the monolithic structure that it once was and wielded the power that it then had, there would no Democratic Unionists in this House. In those days an Official Unionist could pile up a majority of 42,000 in Antrim, North, but I dared to challenge the sanctuary and to refuse to help a man who said in this House that the B Specials and the things in which Ulster believed had to go. I dared to challenge that position, and I remember the campaign that the right hon. Gentleman's party mounted against me.

Mr. Fitt

They put the hon. Gentleman in goal.

Rev. Ian Paisley

Yes, I was in goal twice and I have no penance to make or tears to weep about that.

The people of Northern Ireland will exercise their rights. The old days when Glengall street could threaten a man's job have gone. I remember a man who fought the Official Unionists and who was driven to suicide by the power wielded by the man in Glengall street— Billy Douglas. He ensured that that man was removed from his position as manager of Inglis bakery, and when he moved across the road to Mc Water's bakery, he had him removed from there as well. He had that man hounded until he committed suicide, for the crime of daring to oppose an Official Unionist candidate.

I have opposed Official Unionist candidates and I have survived. I am confident that when I go to the electorate they will vote not for the policies advocated here today by the right hon. Member for Down, South but for the policies that I have advocated in this House and which the right hon. Gentleman's own colleagues advocate with vigour when they are in Northern Ireland.

In a debate in the Assembly we heard to our surprise that the right hon. Gentleman was no longer the deputy leader of the parliamentary party here. We had always been told that he was the deputy leader, but when that was said in the Assembly it was quickly pointed out that he was no longer the deputy leader.

Mr. Powell

Who is, then?

Rev. Ian Paisley

I do not know. The right hon. Gentleman's colleagues would not tell us, although we presed them to tell us when the demise took place, when the removal occurred and on what occasion the arguments were put. Perhaps they will inform this House who is their deputy leader.

Mr. Powell

Who is it?

Rev. Ian Paisley

I do not know who is the deputy leader here. Elsewhere it is the hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. McCusker). Perhaps they will tell us who it is here.

Mr. Powell

Yes, who is it?

Rev. Ian Paisley

Do not keep asking the question—stand up and tell us the answer.

Mr. Powell

There is not one.

Rev. Ian Paisley

The right hon. Gentleman has been sacked and the post declared obsolete. That is one way to make out that they did not sack him. As the office no longer existed, he had to go. The right hon. Gentleman has given us the reason, so I shall leave the matter there.

I see a former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on the Labour Front Bench, the right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees).

Mr. Fitt

He has not said a word.

Rev. Ian Paisley

The right hon. Member for Leeds, South knows that I have continually opposed direct rule and that I have continually shouted against the passage of these measures, but no one would support me. I shall tell the House a story which the right hon. Gentleman will not wish to hear.

A day came on which this order could have been defeated. In an early morning debate we discovered that the Labour party did not have enough Members here to get it through. Being Ulstermen, we decided to press the matter to a Division, but not to vote ourselves because we did not wish to make up the required number. Our places in the Lobby would be vacant and they would have to go searching in bars and other places which I do not frequent to try to find enough people.

The House divided and the Labour party could have been defeated had not the right hon. Gentleman, accompanied by his leader—I know, because I followed them — given a pledge to the hon. Members for Kingston upon Hull, Central (Mr. McNamara) and for St. Pancras, North (Mr. Stallard), who said that if he needed their votes to get the order through they were at his disposal. Then they come to the House today and tell us that they have great convictions about this issue.

Mr. Molyneaux


Rev. Ian Paisley

I shall give way in a moment when I have finished my point.

Mr. Fitt

What year was that?

Rev. Ian Paisley

I shall find out. We can get all the details. I remember that occasion. I remember the hon. Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) saying to me, "You know, Ian, if that Bill had been defeated it would have been a terrible thing." Northern Ireland would have been ungovernable if they had not had the necessary numbers. Eventually they did get them, but it was a pity that they did not need the hon. Members for Kingston upon Hull, Central and for St. Pancras, North because if they had been needed, how they voted would have been on the record.

I would accept it if those who are opposing this measure today had consistently voted against it, but we are on the eve of an election. We are against direct rule. It is an abominable thing. Nobody has cried out more against it than I have. But the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) is not accurate—

Mr. Molyneaux

Will the hon. Gentleman keep his undertaking to give way?

Rev. Ian Paisley

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman when I wish. I have not finished my point. The hon. Gentleman can rest assured that I shall give way when I have finished this important point. I have been told by the Clerks of the House that we have until 11.30. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman wants to keep the House as late as he can. I am sure that it is part of an exercise to embarrass the Government. The longer it goes on, the better for him and his party. I know that I am right. I know what is in the hon. Gentleman's mind. I did not sit for years as a deputy leader of the group that he led without knowing what was in his mind. I have learnt a little of his devious ways.

It is not true that Scotland is ruled exactly like every other part of the United Kingdom. It is not true that every part of the United Kingdom is ruled in the same way. Because Scotland is different, it does not make it any less a part of the United Kingdom, and the same applies to Northern Ireland and Wales. The hon. Member for Belfast, West should recognise that.

Mr. Molyneaux

When the hon. Gentleman reflects, he will recall that I patiently explained to him why we could not and dare not vote against either the Northern Ireland Act 1974 or any of its subsequent renewals until this year. The reason for that was and is that had we defeated the renewal order we would have gone straight back to the power-sharing position of 1973. This is the first occasion on which we can vote against and, I hope, defeat this renewal order without such a consequence.

Furthermore, to clear up a point that the hon. Gentleman made earlier, there is no change in the position of the Assembly. If the order is defeated tonight, as I hope it will be, the Assembly will continue and develop. Once the 1982 Act is changed, this order will have nothing to do with the controversy between devolution and integration.

Rev. Ian Paisley

That is a nice explanation, but it does not wash with me or with anybody else. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman did not deny what I said.

Mr. Molyneaux

Just because I did not want the 1973 Act.

Rev. Ian Paisley

The hon. Gentleman is prepared to vote against this measure. I shall say why the timing is so important. It is because there is to be an election. Accusations will be made in that election and evidence produced that his right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South has continually opposed Stormont. He opposed it even when it was controlled by the Official Unionist Government. He says that it has to go because he views the Kingdom as one, as I do. But he goes further and says that we can be ruled by only one Parliament. I tell those hon. Members who criticised us for voting against the hon. Gentleman's amendment to the amending legislation that I did so because it was an amendment to an obnoxious Act which I completely opposed.

The hon. Member for Belfast, West was put into power by that Act. It made him the Deputy Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. It was another devious move to give the kiss of death. What better propaganda could the Sinn Feiners have than to hold up the Orange Standard and say, "They say 'Vote for Gerry Fitt'"? Nothing could be more destructive, and perhaps that is why it was done. I do not know, but I know that no Unionist who would vote for me would vote for the hon. Member for Belfast, West, as he well knows.

I say that truthfully to the hon. Gentleman today. I have had many differences with him, as he knows. He knows my attitude to earlier remarks that were made, but we shall not go into that now because it is water under the bridge. He knows that the Unionists whom I represent will not be putting out in any paper over which I have any control a call for people to vote for him. That might bring some succour to him today. I want to make it clear that I shall not be doing that. That is not my attitude.

Mr. Merlyn Rees (Leeds, South)

On this penultimate day—I cannot resist Northern Ireland debates—may I have one question answered? I ask it with all the innocence of someone who has been involved in Northern Ireland politics. The hon. Gentleman is against integration, and so am I. Was the hon. Gentleman ever in favour of integration? It matters to me because otherwise I shall have to obliterate something that I have written.

Rev. Ian Paisley

I have made it clear to the right hon. Gentleman in private that when Stormont fell we should have returned to our proper position within the United Kingdom. We should never have been kept in limbo. The negotiations could then have taken place, but that was denied. Then the Unionists of Northern Ireland came together and formed the United Ulster Unionists Council. They hammered out a united policy. [Interruption.] It did not correct me at all because I have pulled the chestnuts out of the fire for the Unionist party. There were 10 and we had the majority. I do not know where hon. Gentlemen opposite were at that time, but they were not there. At that time I was not deputy leader at all. There was the Vanguard party of Mr. Craig, there was the party that I led, and there were 10 non-pledged Unionists. I am sorry to say that they were not all teetotallers. They came together and that was the beginning of what eventually developed into the UUUC.

That united body of Unionists did not have total integration. It was denied by the Conservative and the Labour parties. When he was in office, the right hon. Member for Leeds, South told me that his party would not wear it under any consideration. I remind him that the reason that he gave was that he did not want any more Members of Parliament from Northern Ireland in this House.

Mr. Fitt

Here comes the dirty washing. The hon. Gentleman wanted total integration.

Rev. Ian Paisley

I shall come to that in a moment because the people of Northern Ireland were sold on that issue. We decided that we would put a united policy to the electorate, which we did. It was endorsed overwhelmingly. It was endorsed in an election which swept everyone but the hon. Member for Belfast, West away. He was returned at that election. Eleven UUUC men came. From that day to this I have abided by what I believe is right. I was accused of advocating integration. I did. It was our birthright. When Stormont fell, it was our birthright to be part of the United Kingdom and we should have been. I am not ashamed of what I did. I defend it. It is a pity that we did not have it then.

Another point must be made in the House today with great vigour. I do not agree with the hon. Members for Antrim, South or for Belfast, West, or with the right hon. Member for Down, South, when they say that a political act will destroy the terrorists. No act of this House will defeat the terrorists. If Stormont was restored in its previous form, more IRA violence would result. That does not mean that Stormont should not be restored. However, if integration were declared, more violence would result. If the Assembly was allowed to develop properly violence would still result because the violent men of the IRA will not be defeated by political means.

Therefore, I take issue with their argument, because a political settlement will not force the violent men of Northern Ireland to put their guns away. That has never happened in Irish history and it will not happen. The only way to deal with terrorism is by military force and power. That may sound unpleasant to the ears of hon. Members. A Member of the IRA who was with Mr. Ken Livingstone on a platform in London recently said that he had the democratic right to carry an Armalite and to use an M60. As a democrat, I could never find a way to pacify that man. The Government must face the fact that passing laws will never remove the gun from Northern Ireland. The IRA wishes to destroy Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom. The IRA does not mind how Northern Ireland is ruled. Provided it remains part of the United Kingdom it will attack it.

When the hon. Member for Belfast, West was a deputy in the first Assembly, terrorism still prevailed. Even though there were members in Stormont who were of the same religion as the IRA, and who were under the Republican umbrella, violence increased. They did not want Northern Ireland to remain within the United Kingdom. Violence will continue and the House will have more debates on the subject.

I never laugh at death. For the right hon. Member for Down, South to assert today that I was sniggering when he spoke of people being killed is outrageous. I attend funerals of his constituents which he never attends. It ill becomes the right hon. Member to give a homily as to the depth of my feelings about people who have been killed. I was not laughing about people who were dead. I resent that remark. I repudiate what the right hon. Member said and he can smile as much as he likes. During the election campaign, the smile will be taken from his face. The Ulster people know what they want. I am totally opposed to direct rule and always have been. I detest Orders in Council. They do not legislate in a proper and democratic way for the people of Northern Ireland. I have often stated that such legislation is obnoxious.

The House is debating Northern Ireland tonight not because it loves Northern Ireland and its business, but because the Government wish to get the order through. In normal circumstances, this debate might have started at midnight or 1 o'clock in the morning. When I was entering the House today, some hon. Members said, "You have it to yourselves today." Do hon. Members really think that Ulster people consider that Parliament is so interested in Northern Ireland that it is setting aside the penultimate day of this Parliament because of its deep concern for it?

I think that the Government believed that the orders would go through on the nod. They have probably prepared for that. The debate is taking place because time has been given for it. When Northern Ireland Members are given time to debate Northern Ireland, they take it. The orders can be defeated only if the Unionists have a majority in the House, which they never will have. One golden opportunity to do that occurred but failed.

Mr. Powell

The result of doing that would have been the reintroduction of the power-sharing legislation of 1973 which the hon. Gentleman detests.

Rev. Ian Paisley

I have never heard such nonsense. The Government would have been in such a panic that they would have had to take other measures.

When Parliament returns after the election, there will be 17 elected Members of Parliament. The United Ulster Unionist Council decided that there should be 22 seats at Westminster and it pledged to fight for the convention report and the 22 seats. What happened was that the Speaker called a conference. Other members of the coalition in the Vanguard movement and the Democratic Unionist party did not attend the conference. The right hon. Member for Down, South and his colleague were appointed to the Speaker's Conference. They had an interesting pact with the then Labour Government. I do not know how official or unofficial it was, but to-ings and froings took place. The right hon. Member for Leeds, South may shake his head, but I have other stories to tell. The decision was that Ulster should be sold short —[Interruption.]

Mr. Powell

There was fair play.

Rev. Paisley

Fair play my foot. A circular was given to hon. Members stating that 22 seats would be the correct number for Northern Ireland, or perhaps one more. The fact that there should be 22 Members of Parliament for Northern Ireland was in the manifesto. The hon. Member for Down, North and myself decided to put the matter to the test. When the day came, we put down an amendment suggesting that Northern Ireland should revert to having 22 seats. However, the gallant hon. Members who gave a pledge in the manifesto that there would be 22 seats would not vote.

In fairness to Northern Ireland, there should be 22 Members of Parliament for the Province. If I had to make a choice—and I make no apology about it—between a fully devolved Parliament and Government for Northern Ireland or 22 Members, I would be prepared to have just 12. I want to make that clear. That is my position, and I have always been consistent. I do not apologise for that. However, we were sold. Then one day there was a meeting.

The right hon. Member for Down, South suggested that we should go to the Labour Government and tell them that we would never vote against them in a vote of confidence. I said that I would not be a party to that —[Interruption.] The loudest and most vehement of all hon. Members, the hon. Member for Londonderry (Mr. Ross), was not present in the House. At the meeting, he said that we should change the people who were talking to the Government. As a result, the right hon. Gentleman was no longer allowed to speak for the group. Another two spokesmen were appointed—[Interruption.] I know the story. It is the truth and the Ulster people need to know the truth, because an election is approaching.

I have already said that publicly but I have never before had the opportunity to say it in the House. However, I say it today and put it firmly on the record. We were sold. There should have been 22 Ulster Members. As we have not got 22 seats, there will be a different set of circumstances. As has been said, if the right hon. Member for Down, South had known what would happen to his seat, he probably would not have spoken so strongly about 17 seats.

I am glad that the Boundary Commission was an independent body and that the people of Northern Ireland had the right to put their points to it. I am also glad that even though not all the points were accepted we can at least say that it did its best. I do not challenge the Boundary Commission in this House. If I thought that it had acted wrongly, I would indict it. However, we have 17 seats when we could have had 22—[Interruption.] Why was that in that party's manifesto? It is all very well for hon. Members to discount it and to say goodbye to it now.

Hon. Members are praying for a hung Parliament and hope that we shall return to the time of the Labour Government when they exercised some power and influence. That influence would be much more powerful with 22 Members. After the election, the Official Unionist party may be even bigger than the Social Democratic party.[Interruption.] Those hon. Members who think that it will be bigger than the SDP are better prophets than I am. However, the point is that we were betrayed and I shall go on saying that.

The right hon. Member for Down, South argues that this issue should not be debated until the new Parliament. Let us imagine that all 17 Members were Official Unionists and that they wiped us out at one stroke. That would be a tremendous day. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would then be made deputy leader. They would be totally paralysed and the next Government would renew direct rule. Hon. Members would have a debate, make their protest and at the end of the day this obnoxious order would be enacted. I shall vote against it because I am consistent. The right hon. Member for Down, South does somersaults. When I say that I am against something, I am consistent. My colleague and I will vote against the order. However, we shall not do that so that people can put on the propaganda sheet that we were the only people to vote against direct rule, to stand up in the House and to carry the flag for our constituents.

There is one thing that should be said about the way in which direct rule is managed. We no longer pass orders as we used to do. There used to be a draft of an order followed by six weeks' consultation. Indeed, we had to fight a long time just to get that. The proposal might then be amended and discussed in the Northern Ireland Committee. At times, we could hardly get a quorum. There would be a short debate in Committee. The Minister would speak for some time, followed by the Opposition spokesman and we would be lucky if two or three Ulstermen managed to speak. The order was then brought before the House and, smack, that was it.

That is no longer the way that orders proceed. They now go to the Assembly. They are then referred to the appropriate Committee. I know that some members of the Official Unionist party and the Ulster Unionist party do not attend such Committees. Indeed, the hon. Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) would not sit in a Committee. It ill becomes him to complain that there is not enough time to do something effective about the order and to consider it properly. He has already been given a forum and all the time in the world in which to call civil servants and others, to question them, and to ask the Minister questions. So far all the Ministers have attended and spoken in the Assembly.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell


Rev. Ian Paisley

I shall not give way. The right hon. Gentleman is always praising the House and he knows that he has no right to speak unless he is called. [Interruption.] I, or some other Ulster Member, might do that, and might not have the same respect, but he, of all hon. Members, would not break the rules of the House. The right hon. Gentleman would not dare to do that. He should not shout across the Chamber. He rebukes us for doing that. He should rebuke himself.

I am talking about direct rule. The Opposition have argued that we do not have enough time. They say that we have one and a half hours in. which to debate an order and that is it. However, that is no longer it. The order goes to a Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly. If representatives do not attend the Committee, they choose to do nothing about it. However, there are those in Northern Ireland who attend Committees and who provide quorums. Some members of the Official Unionist party have deplorable attendance records. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Name them. "] The hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. McCusker) is not on any of the Committees. He made his position clear from the beginning. Today the right hon. Member for Down South spoke about money, but it ill becomes him to do so because his colleagues are drawing their money and are entitled to do so, just as he is in the House. It is ridiculous for any hon. Member to say that he should get nothing—[Interruption.] Half the story has not been told. The hon. Member for Armagh did not listen to the debate but went home to bed. He did not sit through the debate. He cannot even attend Committees or all-night sittings of the Assembly. However, the Assembly Committees can call anyone interested in Northern Ireland. We saw that when we discussed the less-favoured areas and the farming community. County Down has many less-favoured areas, just as Armagh has. I have been in both constituencies with my Committee. We have been fighting for the extension of the less-favoured area. There is also an opportunity to hear the Minister.

In the House, we see the Minister once a month at Question Time for three quarters of an hour. I do not say that we do not see him in Northern Ireland, but he is there at the Dispatch Box once a month for questions. One is fortunate if a question is answered in the House. I have waited on the deadline, but the questions are juggled and possibly not reached. The Minister has the advantage. An hon. Member can ask a question and then a supplementary question, but that is all. The Minister has the last word. However, in Committee Members have the last word. The Minister has to sit there and each member of the Committee has an opportunity to examine a proposal to lay an order.

The Official Unionists want to diminish the Assembly's reputation. They tell people that nothing happens there. One of the white-haired men there thinks he will shake the House when he arrives.

Mr. Molyneaux

How will he get here?

Rev. Ian Paisley

He will arrive by bus, with men dressed as astronauts. He told the Assembly that the Assembly was a bus. From the Official Unionist Benches, the man said that the Assembly was a clapped-out bus. Hon. Members may laugh, but they are members of that Assembly. The man stood at the Dispatch Box and said that the Assembly was a clapped-out bus filled with astronauts thinking that they were going to the moon. The man who said that must have undergone a lunar change because no one in his senses would come out with such nonsense. I shall not mention the man's name because he is so discredited. He is a member of two Committees, but has never attended a Committee meeting—and that is a man who says that he will help Northern Ireland.

Mr. John Patten

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for allowing me to interrupt because it will give him the chance to catch his breath in the midst of his magnificent peroration. I am a little muddled. I do not understand about the astronauts and the bus. May we be told a little more about the bus; where it comes from, where it is going and about the astronauts aboard it?

Rev. Ian Paisley

According to the man, the Under-Secretary and his Department designed the bus. The hon. Gentleman's colleagues sat at the drawing board and designed a clapped-out vehicle. The people aboard the vehicle are astronauts who think that they are going somewhere when they are going nowhere.

The strange thing is that the Official Unionists and the character who described the Assembly are on the bus. Even the hon. Member for Armagh is on the bus. The bus is the Assembly. When it comes to vital matters about constituents, to housing about which changes are proposed and about rates which help the people of Northern Ireland—

Mr. McCusker

There is a discount.

Rev. Ian Paisley

There is a discount, but any alleviation for the people of Northern Ireland is well worth fighting for. Members of the Official Unionist party despise the Assembly. We are talking about 16 changes involved in laying a draft order. When did any hon. Member achieve that? When did the Opposition achieve 16 changes in proposals to lay a draft order? We have been in the House for years. The hon. Member for Belfast, West has been a Member of the House for years and has hammered for such changes, but has achieved none.

Mr. Molyneaux

Not even in the dogs order.

Rev. Ian Paisley

That is right. Even the segregation of ecumenical animals could not be changed. No changes will be made in orders if the Committees continue to work as they do and if the people and if the people elected to the Committees do not do their work but take the money. The Northern Ireland people will never have the service that they deserve while that happens.

The House has given us the opportunity to deal with direct rule, to scrutinise legislation properly, to question civil servants, to interview expert witnesses and to hear evidence from people affected by legislation. We have the chance to question the Ministers. We also have the opportunity to prepare reports and to have them debated in the Assembly.

When the hon. Member for Belfast, South produced a report his Committee defeated him so he went to the Assembly and he was defeated there. It is not all wonderful. We are not simply doing what we are told. We have minds of our own. A report goes from the Assembly to the Secretary of State so that before the House passes legislation we now have an opportunity to examine Government proposals. Is not that better than what we had before? Yet on Wednesday some hon. Members opposite voted against a motion stating that what we have in the Assembly is better than what we had under unbridled direct rule.

Hon. Members do not want to give any credit to the Assembly, but I know Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly who work tirelessly with determination to ensure that they tell Ministers what they think of legislation that comes before it. This House still has its opportunity in its Northern Ireland Committee and in the Chamber.

It is said that whatever party is in power we shall not make changes under direct rule. We can make it through the Assembly but that Assembly must be strengthened. We are not content with mere scrutiny powers. We need a proper devolved Parliament and Government for the people of Northern Ireland. We need a Government that can govern the Province and a Parliament that can pass laws and administer the Province.

Proposals for moving towards legislative devolution have been put to the Assembly. I hope that the Assembly will continue on that road. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Antrim, South laughs, but I can remember him saying that we should have legislative devolution for Northern Ireland. The right hon. Member for Down, South once told us that there was no voice in Northern Ireland that this House should heed in the call for legislative devolution. He will hear the voice loud and clear in Down, South where voices say, "Yes, we want legislative devolution. We want administrative devolution and for the Assembly to progress towards that goal."

That will not come tomorrow. It will be a long hard slog. As an elected representative of the people of Northern Ireland I am prepared to go along that long, hard road. I know that I shall experience many disappointments and frustrations, but even in this House we have our disappointments and frustrations. If we are not prepared to do the job and if we do not have the determination, the courage and the tenacity to keep going, darkness will come.

Constitutionally, I fear what would happen in Northern Ireland if there was only London and Dublin and no Stormont with a voice for the majority of the people. I do not like the talks with Dublin—I never did. I do not think that they do any good. I am not convinced that the Secretary of State really pushed the Southern Government on extradition. This is a vital matter. If people can murder in Northern Ireland and then hide in the Republic terrorism will not be defeated. They must be brought back to stand trial and strong measures must be taken on the border. Her Majesty's Government — at Question Time today I referred in my question not to the Secretary of State but to Her Majesty's Government; the Foreign Secretary, not the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, should deal with Dublin—should be pressing for extradition.

The order will be renewed even though Unionists with different points of view will oppose it, and other Unionists with different views on the matter will support it. But let not the House think that because there is a difference, a major difference, between some Unionists there is not a common bond among all Unionists—to ensure that we never go into a united Ireland and that we remain part of this United Kingdom. I am happy to let that be the last sentence of my speech.

6.30 pm
Mr. Clive Soley (Hammersmith, North)

The most sobering thought that comes to me after listening to the debate is that the general election in Northern Ireland will be conducted very much in the terms of the debate that we have heard tonight. I believe that nothing more could have cut to the quick the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) than the comment of the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) that the right hon. Gentleman was a member of another race. That comment must have hurt deeply. While the debate in Northern Ireland is conducted in those terms, the debate here will figure hardly at all in the election. Even though I am a Member with Front Bench responsibilities for Northern Ireland, no one in my constituency will be interested in these matters. That is a tragedy and the great implications for the position of Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom must be thought through. It says something about the feelings on Northern Ireland of British people. It also says a great deal about feelings within Northern Ireland.

When I hear members of the Democratic Unionist party speaking, I think that for once in Northern Ireland a touch of class politics is emerging. Their feeling against the Official Unionists is deep and it is partly to do with class. When people mock and deride class politics they should remember that the alternatives, as we have seen in Northern Ireland over the years, can be infinitely worse.

I should not like the last debate on Northern Ireland of this Parliament to pass without placing on record the appreciation that many of my hon. Friends and I feel for the service given to the House by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. Stallard), who will not be returning to the next Parliament because of boundary changes. He has been one of the most honest and hard-working Members of the House. In my position as chairman of the parliamentary Labour party group on Northern Ireland, he has given me inestimable support and helpful advice. When I came to the House in 1979, it was not always easy to see my way through the maze of Northern Ireland politics, and my hon. Friend was invariably a good and extremely helpful guide. I shall miss him very much, as will other hon. Members.

On the penultimate day of this Parliament. the right hon. Member for Down, South, supported by his hon. Friend the Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux), made his traditional speech—the one which says that Northern Ireland is not being treated as part of the United Kingdom. I cannot help feeling that if the right hon. Gentleman were to put his speech to music it would get into the top 20. It has been around for a long time.

Mr. Fitt

Ten years.

Mr. Soley

I should think that 10 years is the minimum.

The right hon. Gentleman was right to say that the Government were nervous about being returned—that is why we are having the election now—but he was wrong in almost everything else he said. I accept and always have accepted the logic of his position — that Northern Ireland, if it really is part of the United Kingdom, should be treated as such. It has not and never has been treated in that way by Governments or the major political parties. I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that it never will be. When we face up to that problem, we may begin to make progress.

At Northern Ireland Question Time today it was said that the house building programme in Belfast is the largest for more than 100 years. Yet the Government's record on house building is poor. That says a great deal about the squandered years of Unionist rule. I have said before at the Dispatch Box that, had the Unionist party in the past taken the minority community in the North into its confidence, into government and into the political and economic institutions, the history of Northern Ireland might have been different.

Mr. John Patten

I remind the hon. Gentleman, if he needs reminding, of the recent notable speech by Bishop Cahal Daly, who enjoined all members of the minority community and of the Roman Catholic faith in Northern Ireland to remember the good things that Stormont did.

Mr. Soley

I am sure that many people remember the good things, but the Minister knows better than most that he would not need to do his present job if the Unionists had ruled differently prior to the outbreak of the present troubles. The Minister knows that, and he has said so himself on a number of occasions. At the moment we are talking to predominantly Unionist members, who rightly condemn paramilitary violence on the Republican side but are often too slow to condemn paramilitary violence on the Unionist side.

I say to Official Unionists that terrorism comes not from hope but from despair. When people are deprived of the hope of achieving their aims — political, social, economic, or whatever — by legitimate means, the arguments for violence become more difficult to refute. It is very difficult for men and women of reason to argue against violence when they are offered no hope. Offer people hope and violence can be undermined. I have made it clear from the Dispatch Box on a number of occasions that there is no way that the House can promise peace to the people of Northern Ireland quickly. It is not possible. If any of us had such a policy, we would have put it forward and carried it out years ago. Such a policy does not exist.

I say finally to members of the Official Unionist party that if they continue to go down the present road they will lead all the people of Northern Ireland—Republican and Unionist, Catholic and Protestant—down the road along which there is nothing but continuing misery and agony.

6.37 pm
Rev. Martin Smyth (Belfast, South)

I note that the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Soley), although the voice may not be much good, is trying vigorously to get into the top 10 in the charts. The hon. Gentleman's speech has been rehearsed in the House and in conferences for quite a while and it has changed not one iota. It ill becomes him to lecture other hon. Members for rehearsing their speeches.

I should like to clarify some of the thinking that has been manifested in this debate. The hon. Member for Hammersmith, North said that the speech of the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) reflected a class division in Northern Ireland. The hon. Member for Antrim, North spoke about the ordinary people of Northern Ireland who are now able to get a discount when paying their rates. For the first time for years I have not been able to pay my rates in two lots. Anyone who is prepared to pay a full year's rates to get a 4 per cent. discount will, by leaving their money in a bank account, do much better. To conclude that ordinary people are enjoying a magnificent benefit of a 4 per cent. reduction in rates is absolutely ludicrous. The ordinary people of the Province pay their rates weekly with their rent, and accordingly receive no discount. I do not deny that the Assembly gained a victory, but I am making it clear what that victory means. People should not gain the impression that they will have a 4 per cent. discount on their rates unless they pay them in one sum.

It has been suggested that my right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) is not concerned with ordinary men and women, yet his question earlier today about purchases of houses dealt with a matter of real importance to many not only in his constituency but elsewhere in the Province. No one should dare to claim that we are concerned not with the people, but with the constitutional issues. That is ludicrous, especially as constitutional issues are at the heart of the day-by-day battle for the lives of men and women in Ulster.

My right hon. Friend mentioned Bills involving Northern Ireland being introduced in the House. An example is the Marriage Bill which resulted from action in the European Community. Nobody reading its title would think that it had anything to do with Northern Ireland, yet the largest section of it dealt with the Province. Because of pressure on the House, that Bill received its Second Reading in Committee.

I wonder whether the business managers who put this business before the House today saw into the future for July. Had the business managers who, 12 years ago, took steps to abolish the Northern Ireland Parliament been so far-seeing, we would not be in the mess that we are in today, with this Kathleen Mavourneen or never-never system. The House does not deal realistically with the issue.

I was amazed that the hon. Member for Antrim, North thought it important to tell the House that the Northern Ireland Assembly is so democratic that when members of a Committee wanted to air an important matter on the Floor of the Assembly it divided the Assembly. The matter concerned housing benefits. The Chairman of the Committee lost the point not only in Committee, but in the Assembly. In time, the ordinary people of Northern Ireland will judge who were the wisest people—those who voted to give the Housing Executive responsibility for housing benefit, or those who voted that it continue to be paid through supplementary benefit. In time they will realise the mistakes that have been made, especially when those who are paid housing benefit on their supplementary benefit orders do not bother paying their rents.

I hope that the day will come when the House realises that there is some wisdom among the minorities in the House who have consistently had their arguments about the government of Northern Ireland rejected.

It appears that there is an element of hope. I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Rees) has left the Chamber. A great deal of attention has been paid to the fact that the Northern Ireland constitutional convention asked for additional seats, perhaps comparable with Scotland's representation. I led a group from the convention to lobby the right hon. Gentleman when he was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. He told us that we would never have additional seats at Westminster. I told him that he should at least listen to his leader, who had said that seven days is a long time in politics. "Never" is a word that should not be used by wise politicians.

Admittedly, the right hon. Gentleman was consistent. When he became Home Secretary he should have introduced legislation to give us our rights in Northern Ireland. He did not do so and it was left to the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) to do that. It was the first time for many years that the House recognised its obligation to members of this nation to give them proper representation in Parliament.

We can argue the case for additional seats, but it is significant that for the first time since 1921 and certainly from 1969 — this Parliament, which is responsible for the whole of the United Kingdom, has decided that Northern Ireland should be pulled towards the kingdom rather than shunted off towards Dublin. That was the first ray of hope that the British Parliament was prepared to legislate fairly for the citizens of the United Kingdom in Northern Ireland.

I intend to oppose the order. One reason is that in this Chamber today we heard an excuse for the failure to deal with grants to the Gaelic Athletic Association. The excuse was that the association was begun in 1962 by the Unionist administration in Stormont. We have already heard from Opposition speakers how bad the Unionist Government had been and that if they had managed affairs better there would not have been such a catalogue of complaints. But the bishop was nearer the truth when he recommended people to consider the positive things done for Northern Ireland by the Unionist Administration. It is wrong for the Government of any nation to legislate to provide funds for those campaigning to destroy the nation. It would not happen in a democracy and certainly not in a totalitarian state.

The maligned Unionist Administration constantly held out the hand of friendship and tried to do something positive for the good government of the community. If the Stormont Administration, weak though it was, had not been put under improper pressure by this Parliament terrorism could have been dealt with. I do not want to trespass on the next debate, but because the subject has been raised in this debate I must point out that terrorism does not breed simply on despair. The history of counterterrorist activities in other parts of the world and as we have seen it in Northern Ireland shows that terrorism is speedily cut off from its grass roots and support when the terrorists realise that they will not win. Every time these orders come up for renewal the terrorists decide to continue their activities because the Government are not sure about what they will do.

We opposed the Bill which set up the Northern Ireland Assemby not because we did not want something in Northern Ireland for the good of the community but because we knew that the principles behind it were of the same pattern as the renewal orders and were designed to distance us from the rest of the United Kingdom. It is because we are consistent that we shall oppose the renewal of this order. No doubt many right hon. and hon. Members follow sincerely the guidance to them and renew these orders without getting at the heart of the problem. The sooner the Government decide to act positively, the better for the good government of the kingdom as a whole and of Northern Ireland in particular.

If we wanted a history lesson, we could point out that there are differences in the way that Scotland and Wales are legislated for. Anyone who suggests that people of different races who live within one nation cannot understand and co-operate with one another is not being realistic. To set aside a system of government for that reason is ludicrous. I think I am right in saying that even though there was an Administration in Dublin at the time, this House legislated for Northern Ireland from the Act of Union until 1922. Problems began when this House failed to withstand terrorism and thought that it could solve the problem ultimately by coercing Ulster outwith the Union.

The Government of Ireland Act 1920 did not give Northern Ireland proper representation in this Chamber, not because the Government were setting up a devolved Government at Stormont but because they did not think that Stormont would last longer than four years. The Kilbrandon committee, which was set up by the House to examine the future government of the kingdom, did not recommend a reduction in the mumber of Members for Scotland and Wales, should they have devolved assemblies. Therefore, the argument does not hold water or bear examination. We shall oppose renewal of the order because it is part of the philosophy that would distance us from the rest of the United Kingdom.

I do not believe that for ever and a day the present system of government will remain or that those who believe in a strong central Government for a whole nation are right. There is a good case for federal government. I have no hesitation in opposing the order because it has nothing to do specifically with the Northern Ireland Assmbly. As one who has worked hard within the Assembly for the good of the people who elected me, I believe that it is a red herring to bring in the argument that if we fail to pass the order it will endanger the Assembly. The principles behind the establishment of the Assembly will have to be altered to give a system of government that will maintain the kingdom rather than ultimately destroy it in Northern Ireland.

6.56 pm
Mr. Harold McCusker (Armagh)

I, too, oppose the renewal of direct rule. I shall probably not say anything different from what has been said already, but I should like to give my reasons. Direct rule treats the people of Northern Ireland and their elected representatives with contempt. As a consequence, it alienates them from their system of Government and from this House. Therefore, it is damaging to the Union.

Hon. Members may ask how it treats me with contempt. Although I appear to have the same rights and privileges as every hon. Member, in reality that is not the case. Many of us on this Bench tried, when we came to the House, to play a full part in its proceedings, but it is difficult to take part in debates on major Bills which apply to Great Britain if one is unable to relate them to the problems of one's constituency. When we try to draw on our experience to illustrate a point, it may be pointed out that the Bill does not apply to Northern Ireland, even though its provisions may eventually be applied to the Province by an Order in Council. Therefore one finds it more and more difficult to work up enthusiasm to talk about legislation which does not apply to the Province.

We have been reminded that there is a Northern Ireland Question Time every five weeks. Of course, we could put down questions to other Ministers, although it would be unlikely that we would put down questions in relation to Wales and Scotland. What questions can I put down to the Secretary of State for the Environment or to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Security? All those functions are devolved to the Northern Ireland Office. If I put down a general question I will be told that it has been transferred to Northern Ireland Question Time. Therefore, there is no incentive for me to be here on any day from 2.30 pm except when Northern Ireland or perhaps defence questions are being answered. I might come along for Scottish Question Time, hoping to discuss the deplorable state of the road from Stranraer to Carlisle.

The system of direct rule causes Northern Ireland Members to play a dwindling role in this place. Those hon. Members who sometimes say, "We have not seen you for a long time," should bear that in mind. Between 1974 and 1979 Northern Ireland Members had an incentive to come to Westminster. There was a developing hung Parliament and our votes were important. There was the possibility that occasionally we could be of some use, albeit only at 10 o'clock at night. There was an incentive to come to this place and to play our part.

The past four years have been disappointing for me. They have alienated me from this place, and I am sure that as a consequence they have alienated many of my constituents. That is why I am opposed to direct rule. It is a form of colonial rule. I hope that the Secretary of State realises the significance of his move to the governor's residence at Hillsborough. The people of Northern Ireland considered the right hon. Gentleman to be assuming the role of a colonial governor. I may be told by the Under-Secretary that it is an appropriate use of a public building. I can understand that, but it was a symbolic act and it suggested to some in Northern Ireland that they were being treated like colonials. There were some who thought it suggested that their political master was assuming the seat of power of the Government of Northern Ireland.

I do not want to be too sore about the Northern Ireland Assembly, but what is it doing? It is presenting a veneer of democracy in a colonial system of government. It is the equivalent of a council of chiefs on a south sea island which has been brought along to meet the governor on the understanding that the chiefs will be consulted and their opinions sought. That was often done in the past to give them some stature. If they came up with a reasonable proposition, the governor might accept it. He would then send the chiefs back to keep the natives happy. My principal complaint about the Assembly is that in essence it presents a veneer of respectability on what is essentially a non-democratic colonial style of government.

I did not fight the election for the Assembly to put a veneer of respectability on direct rule. I fought to try to end direct rule. I would happily settle for the integration option or the full devolution option. I articulated in the House and outside in favour of the total integration proposition, and I did so unashamedly. What less can a citizen of this country ask than to be treated like his fellow citizens? What less can he ask than that, especially when he is being denied another system of government that would provide a reasonable alternative?

Until 12 months ago I was convinced that there was no alternative and that devolved government was unacceptable. I considered it to be offered on unacceptable terms. My stance was to ask this place for what I thought eventually it could not resist. I was asking it to treat me like an Englishman, a Welshman or a Scotsman.

I do not advance that argument with the venom of the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley). I regret the way in which he referred to my right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). I do not believe that there is something in the genes of Ulster people, or of Scots, English or Welsh people, that is passed on from generation to generation that makes them distinctive, a separate race and different from others in the United Kingdom. I like to think that after 500 or 600 years of association we are in essence the same people. I should not feel proud to be a member of a race apart. When the hon. Member for Antrim, North talks with venom, deliberately or not, in referring to the race of another hon. Member, I believe that he is talking Irish Republicanism.

Rev. Ian Paisley

Does the hon. Gentleman agree with his right hon. Friend the Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) that I laughed when discussing the dead of Northern Ireland? Will he explain why his right hon. Friend has never attended a funeral of any person murdered in his constituency?

Mr. McCusker

My right hon. Friend can answer for himself on that score. If the hon. Gentleman is saying that it was a sense of personal grievance or personal antipathy that brought venom into his voice when talking about an Englishman—"the same might apply to a Welshman or a Scotsman"—I shall accept that explanation. Despite the differences that emerge occasionally between myself and the other strands which make up the people of the United Kingdom, I hope that I shall never reach the stage when I use the venom that the hon. Gentleman employed in referring to another hon. Member.

I do not believe that it shows concern for people merely to attend their funerals. Some of us make that gesture, however, and I try to do so. I cannot understand why, but I know that some of my constituents get satisfaction from seeing me at funerals. Frequently, I feel ashamed to be present. I feel that I have let them down because I have been unable to convince the House sufficiently of the need to defend them. I entered this place less than 10 years ago and I have attended over 250 funerals of constituents who have been murdered. The fact that I have done so does not make me any better, any more sympathetic or any more understanding than anyone else.

Rev. Ian Paisley

But the hon. Gentleman does not laugh at them.

Mr. McCusker

We can convey sympathy and understanding other than by merely attending funerals.

Recently, I attended a gathering of clergymen. I chided them and asked whether they always discharged their obligations to their parishioners. They responded by saying that they hoped that politicians in Northern Ireland did not think that they had discharged all their obligations by attending funerals. There are two sides to the argument. If the hon. Member for Antrim, North is saying that he was not talking in racist terms, I shall accept that explanation.

There was venom in the voice of the hon. Member for Antrim, North when he talked about the party to which I belong. Perhaps I am unable to understand him because I did not have his experience with the old Unionist party. If I had shared that experience, I might share his feelings, Recently, I listened to the hon. Gentleman for four hours. His colleague, the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson), spoke on the same occasion for about two hours. It struck me that I was the only sensible man in the place. They kept on alluding to the fact that I still represented the old party. I resent that suggestion. The hon. Gentleman knows that I do not claim to represent some of the aspirations or behaviour of that old party. I do not want to embarrass anyone present by saying that.

I became involved in my party 15 or 16 years ago. It was the only party to which I could belong and there was nothing wrong with the association to which I belonged. I campaigned vigorously for many of the things for which the hon. Gentleman has campaigned. When I and others were campaigning day and night to keep Stormont in existence, the hon. Gentleman's party was not supporting us. In fact, his party was threatening to wreck some of the action that I was taking. I have already set in train the machinery necessary to produce the evidence to prove to the hon. Member for Antrim, North that at least in county Armagh that was the case.

I make no secret of the fact that I used my vote tactically when I could during the time of the previous Labour Government. I am proud that I used my vote in the vote of confidence in 1979. The only power that I have in this place is my vote, and it is not very often that I have the opportunity to use it to influence events. When I had that opportunity in 1979 I was determined that I would not miss it, especially when the hon. Gentleman threatened to oppose me at the polls if I exercised my vote. At that time, the hon. Gentleman was telling the people of Northern Ireland that Ulster needed a strong Conservative Government and needed the present Prime Minister to form a Government. He said that he would oppose anyone who tried to keep her out. He told us that the right hon. Member for Spelthome (Mr. Atkins) was a personal friend of his. The hon. Gentleman was the arch-Conservative in 1979, but we have not heard too much about that since.

We might not get a hung Parliament after the next general election. The chances are all against that happening. I tell the hon. Gentleman that I shall want to sit with my right hon. and hon. Friends on this Bench. I shall want to be fairly close to them. I do not care which party holds power in this place. If there is a Labour Government and I can use my vote to influence them, I shall do so. I shall try to use my vote in the same way if a Conservative Government are returned. I make no bones about that. I find it disagreeable to hear people claim to be Conservatives and to support Conservative policies as long as those policies are not applied to Northern Ireland. They are saying, in effect, "Let us have a Conservative Government and Conservative policies for the mainland, but let us keep Conservatism out of Northern Ireland."

That is not for me. I prefer to be neither Conservative nor Socialist. I prefer to judge the actions of hon. Members as they affect Northern Ireland, and vote accordingly. I fought the 1979 election on that score and on this occasion I shall fight the representative of the hon. Member for Antrim, North. I listened to his speech today—it was quite amusing; many had not heard it before—having listened to four hours of it earlier this week. It was a speech that I found amusing, even the second time round. Hon. Members here today will not have to listen to it again. I shall have to hear it another half a dozen times between now and 9 June. I do not know if I shall continue to find it amusing.

I shall accept the will of the Ulster people. The hon. Member for Antrim, North and his colleagues should remember that, after all they have gone through, they cannot be fooled any more. As I say, I shall accept their verdict when they go to the polls on 9 June. For all the histrionics and everything that they will hear between now and then, by and large they have already made up their minds. They will vote as they have voted down the years. They judge people—thank goodness they do—on their personality, their record and as they see them as representative of themselves, as distinct from a parcel of promises which will never be fulfilled.

On the issue of 17 or 22 seats, the hon. Member for Antrim, North accuses us of not dealing with that, just as he and his party accuse us of not bringing Stormont back. The suggestion seems to be that one need only ask for it and one will get it. He should reflect that his Assembly colleague from Antrim, North is at last saying that one does not get things simply by asking for them.

One of his arguments for making the Assembly work is that if we do well and work hard, in the end we might convince people. That always strikes me as akin to the doctrine of salvation through good works; if only we do a good job, behave ourselves and mark up enough credits, we may earn sufficient indulgences and salvation will come. I do not believe that. There is nothing in the Act that set up the Assembly which links good behaviour with eventual achievement. It has nothing to do with either. Indeed, I think that we might achieve more by being more prudent than by complying with the master, the colonial governor, at Hillsborough.

I settled for 17 seats because that was all that was on offer. We did not have a lever with which to get more than that, and if the hon. Member for Antrim, North is advising his hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) on how we might have done otherwise, I shall listen to his remarks with interest, and I may use the advice should the opportunity arise. But we did not have a choice. Seventeen was the average for the United Kingdom and, in accordance with what I said, I am happy to settle for the average. With 60,000 constituents, I am surprised how many hon. Members I meet in the House from the mainland who have many more than 60,000, so I may shortly feel over-privileged on this general issue.

Considering how people were advised to vote for the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt), the hon. Member for Antrim, North was probably incorrect when he said that some of his supporters would not vote for somebody like the hon. Member for Belfast, West. There are areas of Northern Ireland where in elections, for sound tactical reasons, the DUP advises its supporters to vote for people who are the antithesis of everything that the DUP stands for. I support it for doing that. I admire its discipline and the sense in which it sometimes takes that step. But I did not agree with the advice that was given. The Unionists of west Belfast should have the opportunity to vote for Unionists. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with somebody putting forward the case for tactical voting. I should like to believe that in certain circumstances the DUP would have the wit to use its votes tactically, rather than waste them.

I agreed with the hon. Member for Antrim, North when he said at the outset of his remarks that the real bulwark against any attempt to move us out of the United Kingdom was the will of the Ulster people. But he qualified that later when he said that the Assembly was standing in the way. The Assembly is no bulwark against it. It may be a forum where views can be expressed, and I suppose that ultimately, if the crunch came, the elected representatives might claim that they had a mandate to defy. But when this House finally decides, if it ever does, to get rid of us—by way of adjustment or whatever— it will be made certain that there is no Stormont and that there is no Unionist sitting in it.

I do not envisage that situation coming about and, at the end of the day, it is our will. Our people will decide whether we stay in the United Kingdom and who they send to represent them in the real Assembly of the United Kingdom, which is here. That will happen on 9 June and I shall happily accept their verdict. I am sure that at that time there will be more hon. Members on this Bench—if this is where we are sitting—than on any other Bench occupied by parties coming from Northern Ireland.

7.15 pm
Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East)

I suspect that the House will realise that I had not originally intended to participate in the debate, but having heard some of the contributions from the Benches opposite I feel that the record should be corrected.

When I first came to this House in 1979, my colleagues and I on this Bench took the step of voting against direct rule renewal. We did so as a protest because we recognised what direct rule had done for the people of Northern Ireland. I doubt whether any representative in this House from Northern Ireland would be in a position to defend direct rule. It is a negation of democracy that people from other parts of the United Kingdom, who have little or no knowledge of Northern Ireland and who are not accountable to the people there, should take decisions on their behalf.

It does not matter whether all the representatives of the people of Northern Ireland in this House say that they should go in one direction. If they feel that it is to their advantage to go in another direction, the people of Northern Ireland will do that. Does local expertise, knowledge and cunning count for nothing? Accountability is vital, and therefore we opposed the renewal of direct rule in 1979 as a protest, and I am glad that the tellers for the Noes on that occasion were my hon. Friends the Members for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) and for Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder), who said that he had been a consistent opponent of direct rule.

I am sorry to have to tell the House that although the opportunity was there—and opposition Members now, as then, protest their opposition to direct rule—they did not join us in the Lobby. But that was after a general election. We shall have an election on 9 June and they want to stand before their electorates as the mighty men, the opponents of direct rule, and they will all be out in county Armagh and elsewhere saying that and telling how they divided the House on the issue. They want to be the mighty men of the Official Unionist party. But when they had the opportunity in 1979—when the Lobby doors were open—they were sadly absent when the votes were counted.

We had from the hon. Member for Armagh (Mr. McCusker) his explanation or excuse — I almost said apology—for his behaviour in the Assembly. I think that he is trying to justify to the electorate why he is a non-attender of the Committees there. The most important of the Assembly's business is its Committees, the Scrutiny and Statutory Committees in particular.

Rev. Ian Paisley

Set up by this sovereign House.

Mr. Robinson

Exactly, which means that he is acting contrary to the wishes of this sovereign House. The most important function that the Assembly has is its power to scrutinise legislation and to call Ministers, civil servants and others to account. The hon. Gentleman protests and says that there is no point in coming here because he cannot ask questions, for example about the environment. He has the opportunity in the Assembly to ask questions or, if he wishes, to be a member of the Environment Committee there. Indeed, I would welcome him as Chairman of that Committee. If he were to attend there he would have every opportunity to question the Minister, who I am sure would gladly answer his questions for hours on end.

Mr. McCusker

The hon. Gentleman feels himself to be a citizen of the United Kingdom and thinks that major policy decisions by various Government Departments eventually affect the whole of the United Kingdom. It is important that one should have the opportunity to play a full part in the affairs of the main Department in the United Kingdom rather than its subsidiary in Northern Ireland, which is what we must live with.

Mr. Robinson

I do not detract from the hon. Gentleman's argument, but I am showing the distinction between desire and reality. We all want to reach the responsible person. We all recognise that direct rule is an appalling injustice to the people of Northern Ireland. The hon. Gentleman has the opportunity in the Northern Ireland Assembly to question the Minister responsible, but he does not take that opportunity. He absents himself from the Assembly, as does the leader and many other hon. Members of his party. If the opportunity were taken, it would be a great advantage to the people of Northern Ireland.

Mr. McCusker

Why does it worry the hon. Gentleman so much?

Mr. Robinson

It worries me that people who pretend to the electorate that they believe in the democratic process and go before them with a manifesto which says that they will use their experience in government to the benefit of the Northern Ireland people in Committees—if the hon. Gentleman wants to ask questions I shall give way.

Mr. McCusker

I do not.

Mr. Robinson

The hon. Gentleman is just having a conversation with the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt). The opportunity was there for the Ulster Unionists to go to the Assembly, but they failed to attend.

The hon. Member for Armagh is having to go before the electorate to justify his behaviour with regard to the Assembly. The Assembly has been a great success, even after only six months. Its success can be seen by the promises of legislation on matters asked for by the Assembly. An example is the rates discount, which is of benefit to those who pay their rates in one sum. It is a benefit that other parts of the United Kingdom would be glad to have. I am sure that if it were offered to hon. Members representing constituencies in other parts of Great Britain they would be glad to accept it.

The draft housing order came before the Assembly and after 50 hours of debate in Committee and in the Assembly—

Mr. McCusker

I heard the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Robinson

Yes, the hon. Gentleman did listen to me for a couple of hours. Other hon. Members, such as the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), did not have that opportunity. The right hon. Member for Down, South did not tell the electorate that he would come to the Assembly. It would benefit him to hear the Assembly's successes, because he might try to hide from reality, or the hon. Members for Belfast, South (Rev. Martin Smyth) and for Armagh might try to hide the successes from him.

The draft housing order, which was the first substantial piece of legislation to come before the Assembly, made major changes to the Northern Ireland housing law as a result of amendments suggested by the Assembly. That is a success. If the Ulster Unionists do not appreciate that, the man in the street, whose lot will be improved as a result, will appreciate it. There have been improvements also in agriculture because of the Assembly's work.

The hon. Member for Armagh should tell the electorate that the Assembly is working, instead of tabling amendments in the Assembly trying to discredit it and what it has achieved. If the hon. Gentleman compares the way in which Northern Ireland business is dealt with in the House and in the Assembly, he will see that there are advantages in having the Assembly. The hon. Gentleman would not then tell the people of Northern Ireland that passing Northern Ireland laws in the House between 1 o'clock and 4 o'clock in the morning after one and a half hours debate is any way forward. The hon. Gentleman has no alternative to the Assembly at present. It provides him with an opportunity to study draft orders and table amendments, but he will not take that opportunity.

The hon. Gentleman says that nothing in the Act says that the good behaviour of Assembly Members will necessarily enhance their chances of more power later. Of course there is nothing in the Act to that effect. Common sense should tell the hon. Gentleman that if the Assembly's one function is abused, it is hardly likely to be given any further powers. If Members are seen to be acting responsibly, reasonably and rationally and actively accepting the responsibility that they have been given by putting forward suggestions that are helpful to the Northern Ireland community, the Government are more likely to give them extra power than if they act irresponsibly in the way suggested by the hon. Gentleman.

The hon. Gentleman tries to tell the House that the argument about 17 or 22 seats for Northern Ireland has been dealt with satisfactorily. He did not tell the House that he and the right hon. Member for Down, South stood on a UUUC manifesto which said that they would come here and fight for 22 seats. When the opportunity came to fulfil their manifesto pledge, they failed to do so. The opportunity was there, but the election manifesto was thrown to the wind. The hon. Gentleman said that he would put himself before the electorate on the basis of his record and personality. He said that that was more than a parcel of promises. The parcel of promises meant nothing to him when he refused to fulfil the manifesto pledge and vote for 22 seats in the House.

I noticed the hot air with which the hon. Gentleman said that Members of the Democratic Unionist party, by a scheme that he did not detail, had been telling people in certain constituencies to vote for candidates other than Democratic Unionists. Will he produce the evidence for that? For whom were the Democratic Unionists asking people to vote? He does not give the details—I suspect because he has no details to give.

Mr. McCusker

I recall an election in the district council of Magherafelt. I thought that the Democratic Unionist party was proud of the fact that it had voted to keep out someone who it believed to be more dangerous than the candidate who won. If the hon. Gentleman says that that is not the case, I shall withdraw my remarks.

Mr. Robinson

The hon. Gentleman should give us further details. I assume that he must be talking about a system of proportional representation rather than a Westminster election. If we have the details we can deal with the matter.

Hon. Members on these Benches will go into the Lobby today as they did in 1979. However, on this occasion it seems that we shall be joined by the Official Unionists. We shall be voting against a system that is obnoxious, undemocratic and unaccountable. I believe that the sooner we have a proper devolved Government and Parliament in Northern Ireland, the better. Unfortunately, the Official Unionists do not want to see that and will do nothing to help.

7.27 pm
Mr. John Patten

To a certain extent I feel that I am intruding in a family quarrel which has gone on among the Unionist family across the Chamber. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North (Mr. Soley) is not in his place, because I should like to agree with him and welcome the fact that we have had a wide-ranging and full debate on this important issue. I welcome the support that we have had for the order from some, although not all, parts of the House.

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Antrim, South (Mr. Molyneaux) is not here. Doubtless party business has taken him elsewhere. I should like to express my warm thanks—

Rev. Ian Paisley

He is not attending a Committee meeting of the Assembly.

Mr. Patten

I thought that the hon. Gentleman wanted to make another point about astronauts which I still have not quite understood. I should like one of the three right hon. or hon. Friends of the hon. Member for Antrim, South to pass him my thanks for his words of appreciation.

The hon. Member for Hammersmith, North, has now come into the Chamber. How does he square what he said about his hopes—I should like him to explain how those hopes will be brought to fruition—with the hopes of the Labour party, as expressed in its manifesto, of bringing about Northern Ireland unity with Southern Ireland by consent? There was no elucidation of that in the hon. Gentleman's speech.

Mr. Fitt


Mr. Patten

Surely the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) is not accusing us of electioneering. If Northern Ireland Members can indulge in electioneering, surely the hon. Member for Hammersmith, North and I can be allowed two minutes in which to do the same.

Mr. Soley

The Minister cannot get away with that. He was trying to slip the order through without making a speech, let alone indulge in electioneering, and if it had not been for the Official Unionists he would have got away with it. I have spelt out on a number of occasions how I believe that my proposal could be implemented and I shall send the Minister a copy of one of my press releases so that he can read it during the election campaign.

Mr. Patten

For such treats, one must be truly grateful.

The hon. Member for Antrim, South, who just retuned to the Chamber, and his hon. Friends should know that the Act that we are seeking to extend by order is important, because it underpins stability and confidence in the Province. That is critical.

We have heard much about how more or less terrorism might be brought about in various circumstances. I give the House the assurance that no terrorist in Northern Ireland should think for one second that any of his terrible activities will threaten the territorial or constitutional integrity of the Province within the United Kingdom. I happily give that pledge on behalf of the Government and I am sure that if a Conservative Government are retuned at the general election they will happily repeat that pledge.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) must think that we are naive if he believes that we thought for one second that we could slip anything past him and his eagle-eyed colleagues. We made no attempt to slip the order through the House. I came well prepared, with a substantial background brief, that would allow me to speak until at least 11.30 pm, prepared by the excellent, hardworking civil servants in the Northern Ireland Office. We had no intention of slipping anything through.

The extension of direct rule and the renewal of emegency powers are important measures which underpin stability and confidence in the Province, and it makes sense to have them in place in good time before the expiry date gets too close. I believe that we are justified in seeking the House's approval for the orders at this time.

The right hon. Member for Down, South and his hon. Friends may not think that the reason that I have given is a good one, but we do. It is a matter of assessment and the belief that one comes to on the basis of that assessment. The Government's belief differs from that of the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends, but that is an honest, simple and straightforward difference.

In seeking approval for the order the Government are not taking any new step, but are acting with simple prudence to maintain the framework of government and law and order within the Province. Approval of the order would not prejudice the scope of the Government returned at the general election to legislate for new arrangements in the Province, including those that the right hon. Member for Down, South and his hon. Friends wish to see. The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) made a long and fascinating speech which I shall read with great interest. He said that he could not be thought of as a penitent Cinderella. The Government certainly never think of the hon. Gentleman as a Cinderella or a penitent.

One of the hon. Gentleman's remarks struck a chord which I hope will unite the hitherto slightly disunited House. He spoke about Mr. Ken Livingstone, who has been denied to the electorate of Brent, East by the machinations of Transport House. It seems that, alas and alack, we will not see Mr. Livingstone here and have the chance to question him about his consistent support for men of violence in the United Kingdom and in Northern Ireland. I hope that we can unite in condemning Mr. Livingstone and his kind who act as sordid apologists for murderers in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Kilfedder

What do the Opposition say?

Mr. Patten

I welcome the support for the order from some Northern Ireland Members, including the hon. Member for Down, North (Mr. Kilfedder), whom I forgive, in the end-of-Parliament spirit of charity that has overtaken me, for referring to me as arrogant, innocent and dictatorial—an unlikely combination in anyone's view.

I also welcome the support of the hon. Member for Belfast, West. As always, I listened with respect to his remarks and I recognise the integrity of the hon. Gentleman and of the other Northern Ireland Members who have to labour so hard on behalf of their constituents, particularly as there are only 12 of them to represent the Province at present. I am convinced that the order is in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland and I commend it to the House.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 91, Noes 4.

Division No. 145] [7.36 pm
Alexander, Richard Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Rutland)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Beith, A. J. Lyell, Nicholas
Benyon, Thomas (A'don) McCrindle, Robert
Berry, Hon Anthony Macfarlane, Neil
Best, Keith MacGregor, John
Boscawen, Hon Robert Madel, David
Bottomley, Peter (W'wich W) Major, John
Braine, Sir Bernard Marland, Paul
Brinton, Tim Mates, Michael
Brooke, Hon Peter Mather, Carol
Brotherton, Michael Miller, Hal (B'grove)
Brown, Michael(Brigg & Sc'n) Morris, M. (N'hampton S)
Buck, Antony Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Murphy, Christopher
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Neubert, Michael
Clegg, Sir Walter Normanton, Tom
Colvin, Michael Onslow, Cranley
Cope, John Page, John (Harrow, West)
Cormack, Patrick Patten, John (Oxford)
Costain, Sir Albert Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Dorrell, Stephen Price, Sir David (Eastfeigh)
Dover, Denshore Rathbone, Tim
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Rossi, Hugh
Faith, Mrs Sheila Rumbold, Mrs A. C. R.
Fenner, Mrs Peggy Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Fisher, Sir Nigel St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N.
Fletcher-Cooke, Sir Charles Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Freud, Clement Shepherd, Richard
Goodhart, Sir Philip Sims, Roger
Goodlad, Alastair Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Grieve, Percy Stanbrook, Ivor
Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N) Stevens, Martin
Hamilton, Hon A. Stradling Thomas, J.
Hampson, Dr Keith Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Hawkins, Sir Paul Thompson, Donald
Hunt, David (Wirral) Viggers, Peter
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Waddington, David
Irvine, RtHon Bryant Godman Waller, Gary
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Watson, John
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Wells, Bowen
Kilfedder, James A. Wheeler, John
King, Rt Hon Tom
Knight, Mrs Jill Tellers for the Ayes:
Lang, Ian Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones and
Lawrence, Ivan Mr. Douglas Hogg.
Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Molyneaux, James
Paisley, Rev Ian Tellers for the Noes:
Powell, Rt Hon J. E. (S Down) Rev. Martin Smyth and
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Mr. Harold McCusker.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Northern Ireland Act 1974 (Interim Period Extension) Order 1983, which was laid before the House on 10th May, be approved.