HC Deb 07 February 1985 vol 72 c1095
12. Mr. Bellingham

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he intends to devolve more power to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Mr. Hurd

I hope that the Assembly will produce proposals as soon as it can for devolved arrangements which would be likely to command widespread acceptance throughout the community and which I could therefore recommend to this House.

Mr. Bellingham

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, unless all parties take their place in the Assembly, it cannot fulfil its proposed role? Does he agree also that it would make sense to set a date by which all of the parties should have participated and that, if they have not, we should reconsider the Assembly's future?

Mr. Hurd

I am not sure that it would be sensible now to act on my hon. Friend's advice. I hope that the Devolution Report Committee on the Assembly can produce proposals, mainly in a further interim report, which could help us to work something out that would command widespread acceptance.

Mr. Flannery

Is not the Northern Ireland Assembly a farce? The minority communities distrust it so much that they do not attend it, and it is therefore completely one-sided and talks to itself.

Mr. Hurd

The hon. Gentleman is wrong. The Assembly does a good deal of practical and useful work, which has improved the quality of administration in the Province.

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