HC Deb 21 May 1992 vol 208 c491
12. Mr. Skinner

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has any further political initiatives relating to the Province; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Patrick Mayhew

The current political talks began on 9 March and reconvened on 29 April. They constitute a major initiative on the part of all concerned in them. My present concern is to facilitate their success.

Mr. Skinner

Does the Secretary of State agree that there have been at least half a dozen political initiatives during the past 25 years, yet the killing fields in Northern Ireland continue, British soldiers are blown to bits and the internecine warfare is on the increase? Is it not now high time for a fresh political initiative and for the Government to start drawing up plans for bringing out the British troops?

Sir Patrick Mayhew

That is not an attitude towards part of the United Kingdom and those who live in it, as by law they are entitled to, with which this Government or, I feel confident, any British Government would ever be associated. People who live in the United Kingdom are entitled to the protection of the full resources of the United Kingdom when confronted with the evil of terrorism, and under this Government they will receive that protection.

I do not dispute the hon. Gentleman's assertion that the killing continues and that the security position is far from what can be desired, but I do dispute his spirit of hopelessness that nothing can be done to remedy matters without pulling out the troops. Much can be done and that is what the talks are in part about. If the hon. Gentleman were to come to Northern Ireland, he would find there an even greater willingness to consider new ideas than even he is sometimes associated with.