HC Deb 11 July 1985 vol 82 c1251
6. Mr. Hunter

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what further consideration he has given to rolling devolution for Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hurd

The Northern Ireland Act 1982 continues to offer a flexible and practical framework for devolving powers to representatives of the Northern Ireland constitutional parties. The crucial requirement for any scheme for a devolved administration is that it should command widespread acceptance throughout the community.

Mr. Hunter

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. May I ask him to clarify matters still further, first by refuting the charge that, in relation to rolling devolution, he is merely paying lip-service to the ideals of his predecessor, and, secondly and more positively, by asserting that the concept and implementation of rolling devolution is central to his overall strategy for the Province?

Mr. Hurd

Yes, and we must not lose sight of the aims of the 1982 Act. If the constitutional parties in Northern Ireland could bring themselves to reason together on these constitutional matters, they would be doing Northern Ireland a great service, and I shall use what weight I have to move them in that direction.

Mr. Maclennan

Is there the slightest evidence that the constitutional parties share the Government's view as to the desirable objectives in this matter?

Mr. Hurd

Yes, there is the slightest evidence if one reads their published documents. We must now turn that slight evidence into something more positive and definite.