HC Deb 01 May 1986 vol 96 c1083
7. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action Her Majesty's Government propose to take in the light of correspondence between the Prime Minister and Northern Ireland political parties to hold round table talks with them.

Mr. Tom King

We hope that it will be possible shortly to start exploratory discussions with the two Unionists leaders to see whether a framework for dialogue can be established as suggested by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in her letter of 16 April.

Mr. Alton

I welcome the Secretary of State's answer. Does he not think that, given the willingness of the SDLP and the alliance party of Northern Ireland to enter into discussions without pre-conditions, the time has come to fix a date for those talks to begin?

Mr. King

In view of the position in which the two major Unionist parties find themselves, the first objective is to see whether it is possible for such a framework to be established. Obviously, thereafter, it becomes a question of the involvement of other parties in possible further discussions.

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