HC Deb 22 April 1998 vol 310 cc910-29
Mr. Peter Robinson

I beg to move a manuscript amendment, No. 26, in page 2, line 27, at end insert—

'(1A) A person is disqualified for membership of the Assembly if he belongs to a party which—

  1. (a) is attached to a proscribed organisation which is listed in Schedule 2 to the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1996, and which—
    1. (i) has not declared, and is not presently honouring, a permanent and total cessation of violence; and
    2. (ii) has not surrendered its illegal weaponry; and
    3. (iii) has not dismantled its paramilitary structure, and
  2. (b) has not made an unequivocal decision of its acceptance of the six principles contained in the Report of the International Commission on Decommissioning. which establish a commitment to—
    1. (i)exclusively peaceful means; and
    2. (ii) abide by the democratic process.'.

The Second Deputy Chairman

With this, it will be convenient to discuss manuscript amendment No. 29, in schedule, page 4, line 13, at end insert—

'3A. No person shall hold any office in the Assembly if he belongs to a party which—

  1. (a) is attached to a proscribed organisation which is listed ion Schedule 2 to the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1996, and which—
    1. (i) has not declared, and is not presently honouring, a permanent and total cessation of violence; and
    2. (ii) has not surrendered its illegal weaponry; and
    3. (iii) has not dismantled its paramilitary structure, and
  2. (b) has not made an unequivocal declaration of its acceptance of the six principles contained in the Report of the International Commission on Decommissioning, which establish a commitment to—
    1. (i) exclusively peaceful means; and
    2. (ii) abide by the democratic process.'.

Mr. Robinson

I have often moved amendments, with little expectation that they would be accepted by the Government or supported by the House. On no occasion could I be more certain that an amendment would not succeed than on this one. The certainty comes from the fact, which seems to have been missed by the Opposition Front-Bench spokesman, that the agreement is a multi-party agreement, and a single party cannot change a multi-party agreement. That is the core of the agreement that has been reached.

The essential element of the agreement is that there is to be a buy-off of terrorists. The agreement was set up in order to buy the silence of the IRA's gunners. For that purpose, they were brought into the talks process, throwing aside the rules that were set up. The rules that decommissioning would be required disappeared. The rules that exclusively democratic and peaceful means must be adopted by the parties were tossed aside. The purpose was to engage the Provisional IRA in negotiations and to find out what price it would be willing to accept in return for the silence of its guns and bombs. No price that would entail the IRA being excluded from government would buy the silence of its guns and bombs.

The essential element of the assembly is membership for the Provisional IRA and other terrorist organisations at the very highest level, including Government. The Bill ensures places for Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in the Government of Northern Ireland. Have hon. Members stopped for a moment to think how repulsive that is to the people of Northern Ireland?

I entered politics because a friend of mine was killed in a bomb explosion in the Northern Ireland Electricity headquarters. The person who was in charge of the Provisional IRA who sent the bombers out who killed my friend was Gerald Adams.

I am an alderman in the borough of Castlereagh, where a dozen people were butchered by the Provisional IRA. The man who sent out those responsible for the bombing was Gerald Adams. I could go through atrocity after atrocity in Northern Ireland while Gerald Adams was the commander of the Provisional IRA in Belfast. Now he climbs over the bodies of victims to get into the Government of Northern Ireland. He is supported, sadly, not only by the Government but by the Tory Opposition He is even supported by some Unionists.

9.45 pm

The people of Northern Ireland, who have suffered the terrorism of these past decades and who refused to give in, no matter what the IRA would do against them, now find that the Government and others are prepared to offer places in government to the Provisional IRA. Not only that, but the Government are prepared to open the gates of the prisons to allow murderers out on to the streets. Is not that a buy-off to the men of violence?

The amendment sets out clearly that there can be no place in government and in the assembly for those who do not accept exclusively peaceful and democratic means of change. The Provisional IRA has not called a permanent cessation of violence. It is still carrying out its punishment beatings, as they are called. It is still shooting and bombing. It is still killing in Northern Ireland. Although it may use the name of convenience of some other organisation, there is still the hand of the Provisional IRA and there is still its stockpile of weapons.

I challenge the Government. If there is not an agreement behind which there is a determination to buy off the Provisional IRA, let the Government accept the amendment. Show us that the Government do not want to give in to terrorists. Show us that only those who are exclusively committed to peaceful and democratic means will get into the assembly and into government. If the Government fail to do that, it will be abundantly clear that they will have men of violence in the assembly and in government. Once they are in government, there is no provision that requires decommissioning to take place in order for those people to remain in government. They can hold on to their weapons and their Ministers can still be in government.

There is even no requirement that the organisation itself should stop its violence. It is the individual who has to be caught with the smoking gun in his hand before that person can be removed from government. If there was any whiff of democracy in this system, it would not allow those who are associated with terrorists to be involved in the government of Northern Ireland or in an assembly for Northern Ireland.

I ask the Committee to support an amendment, if the Government are not prepared to do so, that is common sense. President Clinton tells us that we should accept what he describes as a great step forward, which is the progress of the agreement. Will he open the prison to allow the Oklahoma bomber to get out? Will he find a place in his Administration for him? He would not even dream of it. However, he expects us to do it in the context of Northern Ireland. That is the nonsensical nature of the proposal. It is proposed that those who have carried out acts as atrocious and heinous as any in the whole of this creation should be given places in government as of right. I oppose the proposal and so, I hope, will the Committee.

Rev. Ian Paisley

The amendment contains nothing that is different from the Mitchell principles, to which the men of violence said that they adhered. If we are now saying that we cannot make the Mitchell principles stick as regards those who join the assembly, what are we going to do? Are we to have someone in the assembly, or standing for membership and then getting elected to it, who is not prepared to accept the Mitchell principles? The Opposition spokesman, the hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay), said that he wanted the provision strengthened. The amendment gives the Opposition an opportunity to put their feet in the Lobby. They say, "We agree with you and on another issue we shall vote with you." Now is the time to say, "You cannot get into the assembly unless you declare for the Mitchell principles and are abiding by them." That applies to people on both sides of the fence.

A wall on the road that I go down every day has the inscription, "Paisley wants you to give up your guns." That is how I am treated for telling loyalist people that they should give up their guns. I had to take part in talks with the representatives of people who had signed up to the Mitchell principles but were not abiding by them. The people of Northern Ireland want to know whether Parliament wants such men to continue to hold their guns and use them as a threat.

There will shortly be a band parade in Antrim town. Members of the Progressive Unionist party have gone to the band members and threatened them. They have been told that if they put their band on the road, they will never walk again. That threat has been issued by people who signed up to the Mitchell principles, and the only guilt of the band members is that they want to say no to the agreement. In a referendum, voters are entitled to say no. People may try to persuade them to say yes, and that is their business. If I want to persuade people to say no, that is my business. It is quite wrong to threaten people.

We have visits from members of the security forces that the Minister controls. They come to our houses and tell us, "There is a terrible threat on your life. You will have to mind yourself." Day after day, people in public office are being warned that they might be attacked. How can the people who make such threats be allowed to stand for the assembly and take part in it? There is an amendment about their taking office, but we must first deal with membership: that is all we ask. The Tory party should be honest about its policy.

Mr. Robert McCartney

I support the amendment. It is said that a week is a long time in politics. I think that paragraph 10—I speak from memory—of the Downing street declaration was the origin of much of the process that we are debating. It declared specifically that only those who had permanently eschewed violence as a means of obtaining political objectives should be permitted into dialogue with democratic parties and with the two Governments.

There was some debate about exactly what that meant, and the day after the Downing street declaration, the then Foreign Secretary of the Republic, Mr. Spring, said in Dail Eireann that it meant that there had to be a permanent cessation of violence and the giving up of arms. He specifically stated that Sinn Fein-IRA would not be permitted to enter the democratic process, look around to see what it had to offer, and then, if it did not meet their requirements, go back to what is described as doing what they do best.

Mr. John Bruton, then leader of the main opposition party Fine Gael and subsequently Taoiseach in what was described as the rainbow coalition, made a submission on behalf of his party in which he said that the effect of the Downing street declaration was that arms had to be given up now. "Now" is a very short word: it means immediately, at once, forthwith, without delay.

The British Government stated clearly that there had to be a permanent cessation of violence. Three months after the start of the first ceasefire of 31 August 1994, they assumed it to be permanent. The Irish Government were much more optimistic. Albert Reynolds, the then Taoiseach, said that there was no doubt that that ceasefire was permanent. Indeed, the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume) berated a television interviewer for having the temerity to suggest that "complete" was not synonymous with "permanent", and that violence could start up all over again after a complete ceasefire.

On 29 August 1995, after reports of a meeting in the west of Ireland attended by the hon. Member for Foyle and representatives of Sinn Fein and the Irish Government, during which it was proposed that there should be no requirement to hand over any amount of arms, the British Government responded by declaring that to admit Sinn Fein into democratic discourse would be undemocratic and unconstitutional.

Paragraph 34 of the Mitchell report produced in January 1996 stated that Sinn Fein and other paramilitaries were required merely to consider the decommissioning of arms in tandem with political progress. The Conservative Government resiled from every position that they had taken on decommissioning, and the present Administration rapidly followed suit. When the talks commenced, the air was alive with declarations and similes about twin tracks, parallel tracks and trains starting at the same time. There were references to decommissioning occurring at the same time as the political talks progressed.

When it was suggested in the House that Sinn Fein would be admitted to the talks, I pointed out that, once in the talks, it would say, "We are a political party with an electoral mandate. We are not Provisional IRA, we have no arms or weapons, and we have nothing to decommission." I argued that Sinn Fein would go from the beginning to the end of the negotiations and obtain the best agreement it could get, without a single ounce of Semtex or a single revolver or other weapon being handed over. One did not need to be a clairvoyant to make such a prophecy, and that is what happened.

During the negotiations, the real issue was pushed aside. The participants were fobbed off with proposals for highly expensive commissions staffed by expert people who, in due course, would do wonderful things about the administration of decommissioning. It was all a complete farce. The dogs in the street knew that there was not the slightest prospect of a single weapon or a single explosive ever being handed over until Sinn Fein's ultimate objectives were achieved.

What do we have under this agreement? It provides that Sinn Fein members can be elected under this proposed assembly, can hold Executive office on the basis of proportionality and can front a paramilitary grouping that has been responsible for the deaths of more than 2,000 people. That is the reality.

10 pm

It is suggested that Sinn Fein has come in like a spy from the cold and embraced the principles of democracy, much as members of the Weimar Republic and General Schleicher thought in 1933 that they could persuade fascists to assume the mantle of democracy. That is exactly what is happening here.

Mr. Charles Clarke (Norwich, South)

That is a stupid argument.

Mr. McCartney

There may be remarks that what I am saying is stupid from the hon. Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Clarke)—

Mr. Clarke


Mr. McCartney

I am sorry. I do not respond to insult from a sedentary position.

That assumption is not made by me. Every Minister in the Conservative Government—from the then Prime Minister downwards—who had anything whatever to do with the alleged peace process that the Conservative Administration sponsored, have said repeatedly that the connection between Sinn Fein and the IRA is overwhelmingly strong and overwhelmingly positive. They have been described as two faces on the same coin, as two wings on the same bird. It has been established that almost everyone in a position of authority in Sinn Fein has served their terrorist apprenticeship within the ranks of Sinn Fein-IRA.

Mr. Stott

As someone who did not insult the hon. and learned Gentleman from a sedentary position, I am grateful to him for giving way. He is a democratically elected Member of the British Parliament and he makes his points on the Floor of the ancient House of Commons, which he has every right to do. I told him in a private conversation that I was disappointed with him. He is a formidable advocate and he makes his points clearly. Why did he not make all those points in the talks? Why did he absent himself from the talks and stand on the sidelines, instead of making the points that he makes now?

Mr. McCartney

If the point were a good one, it would have been well made. I was in the talks for 14 months. During that period, I can say with modesty that I probably had the best attendance record of any party leader. I certainly attended every plenary session; I think that the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon), despite our differences, will bear me out.

Mr. Mallon

I am not in a position to confirm in terms of statistics what the attendance record of anyone was, but I will confirm that, when the hon. and learned Gentleman was there, he did give his point of view at great length—at very great length—and with great ingenuity.

Mr. McCartney

I thank the hon. Gentleman—

The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Michael J. Martin)

Order. Hon. Members should dwell not on attendance records, but on the amendment before us.

Mr. McCartney

I take your point, Mr. Martin. I was responding to an intervention from the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott), who suggested that I had not played any part in the talks.

Mr. White


Mr. McCartney

No, I want to continue—[HON. MEMBERS: "Give way."] Let us hear the hon. Gentleman, then.

Mr. White

As I said on Monday, the history of Ulster is selective, and people remember history selectively. I seem to recall that the last person that the hon. and learned Gentleman described as a fascist was the hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley).

The First Deputy Chairman

Order. No hon. Member would describe another hon. Member as a fascist. I am determined that we will get back to the amendment. It would be nice to hear about the amendment.

Mr. McCartney

The agreement would permit those who have been directly involved in violence—who are still associated with paramilitary organisations that have retained their weaponry, which have never accepted the principle of consent and which have not endorsed the agreement—to be in power, in the Executive, on the basis of an electoral mandate.

If we all feel that Sinn Fein elected Members are worthy participants in the democratic process, would it be wrong to suggest that they be disqualified if they are attached to or represent a proscribed organisation that is listed in schedule 2 to the emergency provisions Act? Does that seem unreasonable to any democrat? Should we not expect those people to declare that they are honouring a permanent and total cessation of violence? After all, that is what is required by paragraph 10 of the Downing street declaration. Are we going back on that declaration? Should they not surrender their illegal weaponry? That is another requirement of the Downing street declaration. Should they not make an unequivocal declaration of their acceptance of the six principles contained in the Mitchell report, to establish a commitment to exclusively peaceful means and to abide by the democratic process?

Could anyone in this House honestly say that a real democrat, who has eschewed violence and is not associated with or representing a paramilitary grouping with retained weaponry, would be averse to this amendment? That is what the debate is about. If hon. Members believe in democracy, if they believe that violence should not be rewarded, I urge them to support the amendment.

Mr. Mallon

I shall be brief, not because there is not much to be said about the amendment—there is—but because most of it has already been said. I do not doubt the sincerity of those who tabled it and those who have spoken in favour of it. It may come as a surprise to them that many of the rest of us feel the same way. Many of us are not happy with the situation.

When I look at some of the people in the talks process and realise what they have done, I find it difficult to maintain my equilibrium. However, politics is not about rectitude; solving problems is not about rectitude—it is about finding a way to tackle something that has lasted for almost 30 years, with almost 4,000 lives lost and many lives ruined.

The reality is that this House tried to tackle the situation in many ways. It tried internment without trial, which failed abysmally. It tried to tackle it with the heaviest saturation of Army and police personnel anywhere in the civilised world. That, too, failed. It tried using the prisons, but the hunger strikes are engraved in the memory of everyone in my community. That did not work, either.

It is not a matter of rectitude and how one feels, but of how we can silence the guns and turn rampant terrorism in another direction. The proposals may succeed, and the poachers may become gamekeepers—it has happened elsewhere in the world and in this jurisdiction throughout history, and it is nothing new that it should. Let us put it to the test.

The amendments are aimed not at my party or at the Government but at the leader of the Ulster Unionist party and the leadership of the main Opposition party. They should not be unnerved. Yes, everyone shares the feelings that have been expressed. Yes, people realise the difficulty that many on the Unionist Benches and our Benches would have—the feelings of revulsion and dislike. But what is more important—our own feelings, and a confirmation of our political views, or the well-being of the vast majority of the people living in the north of Ireland?

What we have to consider is not our personal likes or dislikes but how best we can deal with the violence and ensure that, if it is not eliminated, it is at least greatly reduced. It is not a terribly idealistic but a reasonable political assessment that those who have responsibility should try to save lives and create a new future.

We shall all have to bite our lips, and none more so than the members of our party. When we see some of the television interviews, listen to the pontification and recognise the sham, we shall have to bite our lips, because it is more important that we create a context in which violence might end for ever.

Mr. Grieve

It appeared that the hon. Gentleman was belittling rectitude—wrongly. Surely the rectitude that unites him and the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney) is that which led them to eschew violence at a time when people were killing each other.

I agree with everything that the hon. Gentleman has said, but does he accept that the difficulty for those who eschewed violence, despite the provocation of those who were perpetrating it, is that the inclusiveness of the proposals that will be put before the House, although not properly in the Bill, will require the inclusion of men who have so far not shown their full credentials in giving up violence? That is the fear which animates the amendments.

10.15 pm
Mr. Mallon

I welcome the hon. Gentleman's intervention, but I am not sure how to reply, as I come from that stock. I come from a tradition and a family who had to bury guns. I do not know where they buried them. In Ireland, that tradition goes back a very long time. This year we are celebrating the bicentenary of 1798. The real history of the past 25 years will resemble that of 1798. It will become distorted and almost patched up.

People from our tradition know in their hearts that the IRA will never surrender its illegal weapons. The amendment has more to do with politics across the Floor of the House than with solving the problems of decommissioning, but I do not question the motives or the rectitude of those who support it.

Let me refer to the last speech in the House on the issue by Sir Patrick Mayhew, now Lord Mayhew. I cannot quote the exact column or date, but it is ingrained in my memory. He said that decommissioning will take place on a voluntary basis or not at all. That is the reality.

I want every possible pressure to be put on those who hold arms to make sure that decommissioning takes place. I want both Governments to use all their skill to achieve that. I do not expect them to send letters to my party or any other party, because I know that they can work in different ways, but I expect both Governments to weigh up the safety and the greater good of people living in the north of Ireland and the prospect for the future in terms of the creation of lasting peace—although that is a long way off. That is what we expect, and I believe that it will be achieved by the agreement.

It would be absolutely wrong to have another Washington 3, as it took two years for the then Government to move away from it. When an absolute decision is taken, it becomes difficult. It would be dangerous tactically and politically for a Government, a main Opposition party or any other party to be pushed into a position in which preconditions are created post-agreement. If it happened, it is easy to guess who would gain.

If the agreement is adopted, Sinn Fein will get its mandate in the election. Its representatives will arrive at the gates of whatever building it will be—hon. Members know where I do not want it to be, although the Minister certainly does—with the cameras of the world upon them. [Interruption.] I note that other people recently had trouble getting in. If Sinn Fein representatives arrive with a mandate and with the cameras of the world upon them and are not allowed to take their seats, who will win?

If Sinn Fein gets in with sufficient numbers under the system agreed by all the parties, in the House and in the talks, but is not allowed to take its places in the Administration, who will win? What will happen every day on the floor of the assembly? What will happen to public perception? There is an old saying about people outside the tent, which I shall not repeat in this august company.

I want those who hijacked and debased the republicanism that I hold—who put it in the gutter through violence—to be tested on the only anvil that will test them: their participation in the normal democratic process. I want them tested not only on the television and in the media, but where it counts—at every level in government, in the assembly and in committees. When they are tested there, decommissioning will begin in a way that could never be achieved through the amendment.

Mr. Robert McCartney

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He states, by implication, that he believes that the Prime Minister's letter of assurance to the leader of the Ulster Unionist party has no value, and that, once Sinn Fein is admitted, it will never be expelled for failing to commence and carry through a process of decommissioning.

Mr. Mallon

I did not receive a letter from the Prime Minister, and, to be honest, I am not greatly impressed by letters from Prime Ministers—not that I have much experience of them. Moreover, the right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) does not show me the letters that he receives from Prime Ministers.

Like Sir Patrick Mayhew, I believe that decommissioning will happen, and that it will happen voluntarily or not at all. It will happen not through exclusion, but through inclusion. It will come about as a result of the political process at every level working on those involved and on the entire community.

We must face the fact that the community we represent is unique—it has suffered very deeply. It will arrive at a point at which it will not tolerate the holding of arms, not through exclusivity or because people are made into martyrs, but through the proper working of the political process.

Mr. William Ross

The hon. Gentleman clearly has not seen the letter that was sent to my right hon. Friend the Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble). Would he mind if I read it to him, so that he could give his view? It said: Dear David"—

The First Deputy Chairman

Order. I would certainly object to the hon. Gentleman reading the letter.

Mr. Mallon

I shall consult the hon. Member for East Londonderry (Mr. Ross) after the debate, and read the letter then. I shall not be surprised if I do not totally understand it, but I shall be surprised if the hon. Gentleman does. I shall be very surprised if the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney), who might understand it, can explain it to those who do not, because I can imagine the way in which it is drafted. I do not say that in a pejorative sense.

I say about the agreement in its totality: let us tell it as it is, not put a spin on it and sell it as a great Unionist or nationalist victory, because it is no such thing. Let us not sell it as a means of getting decommissioning before the assembly is set up, because that will not happen.

There is something wider, deeper and more fundamental at stake: something that takes us right down into the next century. Anyone with a feel for Irish history—Unionist or nationalist—knows that the terms of the amendment would never solve the problem. I ask hon. Members to repeat to the Government and to the Opposition: do not be conned or forced into another Washington 3, because that could undo all the work that has been done, without getting anywhere near solving the problem of decommissioning.

Mr. Beggs

Is the hon. Gentleman confirming by his observations that all the references to decommissioning and the Mitchell principles, which gave hope to all the wishful thinkers who are being induced to support the agreement, were a con to bring us to this stage, and that there was never really any intention to insist on decommissioning?

Mr. Mallon

I cannot speak for Senator Mitchell or for the people in the international commission. I give my own view, which is that decommissioning will not be achieved through an approach such as that embodied in the amendment. I believe that it will happen when there are certain convergences of different factors.

I am talking not about a united Ireland, but about a time long before that happens. I hope that I am right in prejudging that it will happen. The convergence of certain factors and sets of circumstances can lead to decommissioning, but any other approach will prevent it. Not only will the argument be lost; the gains that could come out of the agreement will be lost with it.

Mr. MacKay

The hon. Member for North Antrim (Rev. Ian Paisley) uncharacteristically and, I trust, inadvertently, slightly misled the House. I want to put the record straight and to reconfirm what the Prime Minister said at Question Time and what I said on Second Reading.

We have asked the Minister to consider the fact that when the major constitutional Bill to set up the assembly—as opposed to the current Bill, which provides for the shadow assembly and the elections—comes before the House, we will want a clause that says that no Members of the Assembly can be appointed Ministers if the paramilitaries that they are associated with have not substantially decommissioned or have resorted to violence in any shape or form.

That is very different from what is in the amendment. I want to put the record absolutely straight so there is no possible misunderstanding.

Mr. Thompson

I support the amendment. As far as I can detect from what the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) said, he agrees with the amendment in principle—indeed, he might agree with it in substance—but, because he feels that it would not be carried out in practice, he will not support it. If one believes something in principle, one should carry it out. If the SDLP uses that type of reasoning and argument, it will find that another party will swallow it up because it will tell the electorate that it is the party that gets results. Members of the SDLP should be careful in going down that road.

10.30 pm

I, too, am sceptical about whether the Government will accept the amendment. They may talk piously of giving up arms, decommissioning and all the rest, but, as far as I can discover, they cannot accept the amendment because it would mean that Sinn Fein would not get into the assembly and that is the deal that has been made to get Sinn Fein in. All the high-falutin principle and the rest about decommissioning and using peaceful means is merely rhetoric and means nothing.

Surely we have learnt that of the six Mitchell principles, which were followed more in the breach than in their observance. Even while those who had accepted the principles were in the talks, the organisations that they were associated with were carrying out beatings and murders. Only when they were caught were the representatives excluded. The idea that the Mitchell principles—even though they had been signed up to—were in any way effective is nonsense.

The hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay), who spoke for the Opposition, does not, as far as I can see, yet understand the nature of the new assembly. While the Bill deals with the assembly in its first stage, the conditions and rules will also apply when it becomes active. The idea that we will have a new constitutional Bill that will change everything that we have here is not real. It will not then be possible to table and make amendments on decommissioning, so this amendment is right and proper.

Surely those who enter the democratic system must eschew violence. They must forget about it, give it up and agree to abide only by democratic means. If they are not prepared to agree to that obligation, they should not be allowed to enter the assembly. I support the amendment.

Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)

The amendment is entirely consistent with the position that the Conservative Government adopted. The Downing street declaration, which launched the process, was an urge for inclusive dialogue, but it was conditional on two points: first, the acceptance of the principle of consent and, secondly, an unequivocal commitment to exclusively peaceful means—the renunciation of violence. Over the past five years, that position was somewhat re-presented through the Mitchell paper and the Mitchell principles but the Conservative Government remained committed to decommissioning in parallel with the dialogue. That has not materialised. The position that we defended in government is consistent with the amendment. The Bill could allow participation in the assembly at executive level of people who have not unequivocally rejected violence.

Mr. Paul Murphy

This has been an interesting debate. No hon. Member supports violence or disagrees that the Mitchell principles, which lay at the base of the talks that have taken place during the past two years, are the proper foundation for a democratic society in Northern Ireland or anywhere else, but there has been little reference, except by my hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon), to why we are here this evening. We are here because of the agreement.

The Bill is based on an agreement. The agreement was made on Good Friday, but it had been in preparation for many months—indeed, years. Of course it is important that decommissioning is an indispensable part of the process. It would be a travesty if there were a return to violence and those responsible for it were Ministers in an administration. Everyone accepts that, but how do we ensure that those matters are addressed by the assembly? Today, we are dealing with the assembly, how it will discipline itself, and how its Ministers, if they went back to violence, would be dealt with.

Page 10 of the agreement deals with the pledge of office. For example, Ministers would have to pledge their commitment to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means". Page 7 states: An individual may be removed from office following a decision of the Assembly taken on a cross-community basis, if (s)he loses the confidence of the Assembly".

Mr. Robert McCartney

Does the Minister agree that there is nothing in the agreement that refers to parties? It refers only to individual Ministers. The undertakings and pledges are personal. As the hon. Member for Derry said—[Laughter.] As Gilbert and Sullivan said, it is innocent merriment. As the hon. Member for East Londonderry (Mr. Ross) said, nothing in the agreement requires anything other than an individual to give the pledge or be removed. Unless a Minister has been apprehended, or involved in some act of violence, or has personally commissioned or authorised some act of violence, he cannot be removed. The Minister agreed that the talks would be parallel with decommissioning and that when agreement was achieved there would be some practical demonstration of the commencement of decommissioning. That has not occurred.

Mr. Murphy

Yes, and my experience of politicians in Northern Ireland tells me that when the assembly is set up and when the code of conduct is debated during the months of preparation for when the assembly takes over the functions of the Northern Ireland Departments, there will be much debate in that chamber about the nature of the pledge of office, the code of conduct that Ministers must sign, and the points that the hon. and learned Gentleman has just made. For that matter, during the past few months—once here in London and once in Dublin—individuals and parties were expelled from the talks on the basis of what occurred.

I repeat that the agreement that was reached by the Governments and the parties in the talks refers to the issues that have been raised in the debate today. Of course it does; they are important matters. If the assembly is to mean anything, it must have control over how it conducts itself when it takes over the full functions that it is entitled to take over under the agreement and under the major constitutional Bill that we shall consider later this spring and in the summer.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister went into some detail this afternoon in response to a question from the Leader of the Opposition. For example, he has said that if during the first six months of the shadow assembly or the assembly the provisions have been shown to be ineffective, the Government will support changes to those provisions to enable them to be made properly effective. I am happy to repeat that commitment tonight.

It seems to me that that is more than straightforward and satisfactory. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said that we will support such changes, but, at the end of the day, as my hon. Friend the Member for Newry and Armagh said, the establishment of trust and confidence among parties in the assembly after the election is the only way in which peace will come to Northern Ireland and political stability can be achieved. There is no other way, and we have to ensure that it is within the assembly that the changes occur. However, we will watch it with great interest as the weeks go by.

Mr. William Ross

The Minister has just repeated yet again the very careful language in the letter to my right hon. Friend the Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble), which says that the Government will support changes to the provisions. Supporting changes is not making changes to the provisions. The support will not be effective because all the other parties involved in the agreement will have to go along with the change, and they will not.

Mr. Murphy

My hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Mr. Mackinlay) was talking about reshuffles earlier. The hon. Gentleman would not expect me to disagree with the Prime Minister this evening. The issue is pretty clear. With your permission, Mr. Martin, I shall read the hon. Gentleman a passage from the agreement. The assembly that we are setting up tonight in shadow form and the later assembly that will be established in the major Bill later will meet first for the purpose of organisation, without legislative or executive powers, to resolve its standing orders … In this transitional period, those members of the Assembly serving as shadow Ministers shall affirm their commitment to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means and the opposition to any use or threat of force by others for any political purpose; to work in good faith to bring the new arrangements into being; and to observe the spirit of the Pledge of Office applying to appointed Ministers. That applies to shadow Ministers and Ministers when they take office. It cannot be clearer than that.

Mr. Thompson

Why will the Government not say that they will make rather than support changes? Does that not confirm our view that in this agreement the British Government have conceded to a large extent their absolute sovereignty over that part of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Murphy

In the agreement that has been forged and the debate this evening, it is not a question of the British, Irish or any other Government imposing anything on the people of Northern Ireland. The purpose of the agreement is in the nature of the word—it is an agreement made between Governments and parties. That is why we are discussing these matters. Obviously, we have a concern, because we are the Government in Northern Ireland, but the whole purpose of tonight is to ensure that the government of Northern Ireland is in the hands of the people of Northern Ireland. I have confidence that they will be able to manage the process.

Mr. Peter Robinson

This has been a useful debate. It has been illuminating in many ways. The Minister has shot himself in the foot—indeed, with his most recent remarks, he has shot himself in the kneecap.

The Minister made two vital errors. The first was to say that the expulsion of the UDP and Sinn Fein from the talks process compares with what would happen under the agreement. The forum legislationx2014;the Northern Ireland (Entry to Negotiations, etc.) Act 1996—makes it abundantly clear that it is the parties that have to keep the Mitchell principles and that if they do not do that, the members of the party are to be put out. That provision tied the behaviour of the organisation itself and those with whom it associated, but on this occasion the parties and their organisations are not included; only the individual is tied. That is the smoking-gun scenario: a Minister must be caught with a smoking gun in his hand to be put out of the Government or out of the assembly. The condition applies not to the party but only to the individual. There is no requirement to decommission; nor is there a requirement for the party to be in ceasefire mode. That is the reality and it was the Minister's first error.

10.45 pm

The second error was to say that this is an agreement and therefore that it is not up to the Minister to give the assurances that have been asked for. That is precisely our point: there are little pieces of paper floating around with the Prime Minister's signature on them, but although the Prime Minister is a mighty man in the House of Commons, he is only one party to a multi-party agreement and is therefore not capable of changing the agreement unilaterally—he simply cannot do it. Even if there were some meaning to the piece of paper—there is not—it can be read in at least three ways. Even if there were some meaning to it, it simply would not affect the agreement.

As the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh (Mr. Mallon) said, he never got a copy of the letter, so he is not bound by it; nor are any of the other parties, because they have not even seen it. They did not need to see it, because it does not affect the agreement that was reached. On 22 May, people will not be asked to say yes to the agreement plus a couple of letters from the Prime Minister and an assurance from the Minister who is on the Front Bench tonight. They are being asked to say yes or no to this agreement alone. Those are the two vital issues with which Minister has helped us this evening.

I cannot understand the position of the Opposition spokesman, the hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay). He says that the Conservative position differs greatly from that expressed in the amendments. I do not know whether he has read amendment No. 29, which seems to me to be identical to the Conservatives' position. The hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter), who obviously has read amendment No. 29, recognises that it is precisely what the hon. Member for Bracknell was asking for earlier: conditions have to apply before anybody from the assembly will be entitled to be in government.

I would not for one minute question the desire of the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh for full decommissioning—he has said nothing that is inconsistent with that desire—but I hope that he notices the counsel of despair that has brought him to the position he takes. He says that the Government have tried security measures, that they have tried punishment, that they have tried this and that they have tried that and that, because none has worked, we have to try another way, which is to reward terrorists. Because we have been unable to deal with terrorism using security measures or by imprisoning terrorists, we must allow them entry into government and open the prisons—all those rewards must be given to buy them over.

If there were any sense in that proposal, it could only be on the basis that the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh said—that there had been a sea change in attitude on the terrorists' part; that they had been prepared to renounce violence permanently; that they had been prepared to commit themselves exclusively to peaceful and democratic means; and that they had been prepared to make a new start. In those circumstances, the hon. Gentleman might have at least an academic argument, but the terrorists have done none of those things.

Let us consider what has happened on decommissioning. The Conservative Government said that for the IRA to be involved in talks it must decommission. As the hon. Member for Newry and Armagh said, that requirement was watered down at Washington 3. It was then said that the IRA had to make a start on decommissioning to show that it was on board—that it was serious about the proposal.

That requirement was wiped away. An international commission was set up. It said, "Some people want decommissioning at the start, but it will not happen. Others want it at the end. The only reasonable balance is to have some decommissioning during the talks process." On that basis, the Ulster Unionist party was prepared to sit down at the negotiating table.

It did not happen. Not one gun, not one ounce of Semtex, not one bullet, and not one detonator was decommissioned throughout the process, although it had been set up on the strict understanding that parallel decommissioning would take place—the international commission had set that condition—and now the IRA will get into government without decommissioning. We are told that voluntary decommissioning may take place, but there is no requirement for it to take place. Members of the IRA walk through a talks process without handing over any guns; they walk into Government without handing over any guns; and there is no requirement for decommissioning to occur.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)

I have been listening carefully to the hon. Gentleman and I agree with him. A major part of the Mitchell principles, which were launched with a fanfare of trumpets, was decommissioning. Why, in the hon. Gentleman's opinion, has decommissioning been placed on the back burner when constructive talks leading to meaningful progress can be implemented and carried forward successfully only if terrorists of all political persuasions do not continue to be in possession of huge quantities of explosive, bullets and weapons? My question is, why have Her Majesty's Opposition and the Government not insisted on decommissioning?

The First Deputy Chairman

Order. The hon. Gentleman's intervention is far too long.

Mr. Robinson

I believe that the answer is simple. Decommissioning has been put on the back burner because the Government and the Opposition know that the terrorists will not give up their guns. Why do terrorists not give up their guns? Because they want to leave open the option that, if things do not go precisely as they have choreographed them, they will use those guns again.

There is a second reason why guns remain in terrorists' possession. The threat that brought the Government to their knees and caused them to sign this sordid agreement still hangs above their head. Those are the reasons that the terrorists hold on to their guns. That is why the Government were faced with that adamant refusal to hand them over and caved in to the terrorists.

It is a sad reality that the Government have been prepared to allow Sinn Fein through the process without making one concession.

Mr. Mallon

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. Will he answer this single question? What does he believe is more important: that the paramilitary groups decommission their weapons or that peace as we know it now continues? What is more important to him?

Mr. Robinson

I do not believe that there will ever be peace while the terrorists hold on to their weapons. That is not an option. The terrorists are holding on to their weapons and are using them even now. When they do not want to be seen to be using them, they give them to someone else who pulls the trigger for them. That is the reality of the situation.

The hon. Member for Newry and Armagh should not ask people to choose between two evils. [Interruption.] I think that holding on to guns is pretty evil—perhaps some of you do not think so. When you are prepared to put terrorists in the Government of Northern Ireland and when you are prepared to open prisons and you think that it is peace—

The First Deputy Chairman

Order. The hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) knows the rules of the House: he should not use the word you.

Mr. Robinson

I apologise, Mr. Martin. I do not wish to associate you with any of the suggestions that I am making to Labour Members. They describe what they have bought into as a peace process, but they will not get peace—it does not come by way of a peace process. No peace will result from this agreement. The IRA is pocketing the concessions and, as Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness made clear at the weekend, this phase is over and a new phase begins. The IRA's goal is the same: it does not intend to change its methods. It will return to doing what Francie Molloy described as what it does best—and we all know exactly what that happens to be.

I see no peace in this peace process. I see plenty of process, and I know where that leads: to a united Ireland.

Question put, That the amendment be made:

The Committee divided: Ayes 10, Noes 174.

Division No. 253] [10.56 pm
Beggs, Roy Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Forsythe, Clifford Winterton, Mrs Ann(Congleton)
Hunter, Andrew Winterton, Nicholas/(Macclesfield)
McCartney, Robert (N Down)
Paisley, Rev Ian Teller for the Ayes:
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry) Mr. William Thompson and
Ross, William (E Lond'y) Mr. Peter Robinson.
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Dawson, Hilton
Alexander, Douglas Dismore, Andrew
Allan, Richard Doran, Frank
Atherton, Ms Candy Dowd, Jim
Baker, Norman Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Ballard, Mrs Jackie Eagle, Maria (L'Pool Garston)
Barnes, Harry Edwards, Huw
Barron, Kevin Fitzsimons, Lorna
Bayley, Hugh Gapes, Mike
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret George, Andrew(St Ives)
Begg, Miss Anne Gibson, Dr Ian
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Gilory, Mrs Linda
Bennett, Andrew F Godman, Dr Norman A
Berry, Roger Golding, Mrs Llin
Blackman, Liz Gorrie, Donald
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Grant, Bernie
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Grogan, John
Browne, Desmond Gunnell, John
Burnett, John Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Byers, Stephen Hanson, David
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife) Harvey, Nick
Canavan, Dennis Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Cann, Jamie Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Casale, Roger Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Caton, Martin Hepburn, Stephen
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Heppell, John
Chidgey, David Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Chisholm, Malcolm Hinchliffe, David
Clapham, Michael Home Robertson, John
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Hoon, Geoffrey
Clarke, Eric (Midlothian) Howarth, Alan (Newport E)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Clelland, David Humble, Mrs Joan
Colman, Tony Hutton, John
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Iddon, Dr Brain
Cooper, Yvette Ingram, Adam
Corbett, Robin Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Cotter, Brian Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Cousins, Jim Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Cranston, Ross Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Crausby, David Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Cummings, John Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak)
Davey, Edward (Kingston) Keeble, Ms Sally
Davidson, Ian Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Kumar, Dr Ashok Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Laxton, Bob Quinn, Lawrie
Lepper, David Raynsford, Nick
Levitt, Tom Rendel, David
Linton, Martin Rooney, Terry
Livsey, Richard Rowlands, Ted
Llwyd, Elfyn Roy, Frank
McAllion, John Russell, Bob (Colchester)
McAvoy, Thomas Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
McCafferty, Ms Chris Salter, Martin
McDonagh, Siobhain Savidge, Malcolm
McFall, John Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
McGrady, Eddie Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
McGuire, Mrs Anne Soley, Clive
Mackinlay, Andrew Southworth, Ms Helen
McNulty, Tony Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Mactaggart, Fiona Stewart, David (Inverness E)
McWilliam, John Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Mahon, Mrs Alice Stinchcombe, Paul
Mallon, Seamus Stott, Roger
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S) Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Stuart, Ms Gisela
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Sutcliffe, Gerry
Maxton, John Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
Meale, Alan (Dewsbury)
Merron, Gillian Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Moore, Michael Timms, Stephen
Moran, Ms Margaret Touhig, Don
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway) Trickett, Jon
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Mudie, George Vaz, Keith
Mullin, Chris Wareing, Robert N
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood) Watts, David
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen) White Brain
Norris, Dan Whitehead, Dr Alan w(E Carmarthen)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Willis Phil
Olner, Bill Wills, Michael
Palmer, Dr Nick Woolas, Phil
Pickthall, Colin Worthington, Tony
Pike, Peter L Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris Teller for the Noes:
Pope, Greg Mr. Robert Ainsworth and
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Janet Anderson.

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. William Ross

I beg to move amendment No. 12, in page 2, leave out lines 35 and 36.

The amendment would simply remove the two lines of clause 4(3)(b) which state:

that he is a member of the Seanad Eireann (Senate of the Republic of Ireland). Any person who sits in a legislature owes it a duty of service and loyalty, and I do not know how one can sit in the legislatures of two different nations, both of which claim the same piece of territory, and say that one owes loyalty to both. Therefore, the amendment is perfectly sensible and reasonable.

Perhaps the Government's policy is to cede authority over parts of the United Kingdom. If so, the Bill as printed is perfectly in keeping with that view. It is not my view, and I hope that the Government will show that they are serving Her Majesty properly by protecting the realm and all parts of it. I do not think that any anyone in this Parliament or in the New Northern Ireland Assembly, presumably with loyalty to the existence of Northern Ireland, can sit in another legislature that claims to remove part of the United Kingdom from the United Kingdom. We cannot serve two masters: we must serve one or the other. I have great pleasure in recommending the amendment.

Mr. Mallon

As I said earlier, I have more than a passing interest in the change of legislation. In 1982, I was a member of Seanad Eireann and, for my sins, I was disqualified from the then Northern Ireland Assembly and had to pay substantial costs. It was the only time to date that I found myself in the dock. I admit that I took some pleasure from it, because one of the matters—

It being seven hours after the commencement of proceedings, THE CHAIRMAN, pursuant to the Order [this day], put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Amendment negatived.

THE CHAIRMAN then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that hour.

Clause 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 5 to 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule agreed to.

Bill reported, without amendment.

Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Order [this day], That the Bill be now read the Third time.—[Mr. Dowd.]

The House divided: Ayes 178, Noes 10.

Division No. 254] [11.14 pm
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley N) Cousins, Jim
Alexander, Douglas Cran, James
Allan, Richard Cranston, Ross
Atherton, Ms Candy Crausby, David
Baker, Norman Cummings, John
Ballard, Mrs Jackie Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Barnes, Harry Davidson, Ian
Barron, Kevin Dawson, Hilton
Bayley, Hugh Dismore, Andrew
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Doran, Frank
Begg, Miss Anne Dowd, Jim
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Bennett, Andrew F Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Berry, Roger Edwards, Huw
Blackman, Liz Fisher, Mark
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E) Fitzsimons, Lorna
Brown, Russell (Dumfries) Gapes, Mike
Browne, Desmond George, Andrew (St Ives)
Burnett, John Gibson, Dr Ian
Byers, Stephen Gilroy, Mrs Linda
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife) Godman, Dr Norman A
Canavan, Dennis Golding, Mrs Llin
Cann, Jamie Gorrie, Donald
Casale, Roger Gray, James
Caton, Martin Grieve, Dominic
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Grogan, John
Chidgey, David Gunnell, John
Chisholm, Malcolm Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Clapham, Michael Hanson, David
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields) Harvey, Nick
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Clelland, David Heath, David (Somerton & Frome)
Colman, Tony Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hepburn, Stephen
Cooper, Yvette Heppell, John
Corbett, Robin Hewitt, Ms Patricia
Cotter, Brian Hinchliffe, David
Home Robertson, John O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Hoon, Geoffrey Olner, Bill
Howarth, Alan (Newport E) Palmer, Dr Nick
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Pickthall, Colin
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N) Pike, Peter L
Humble, Mrs Joan Plaskitt, James
Hutton, John Pond, Chris
Iddon, Dr Brian Pope, Greg
Ingram, Adam Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough) Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle) Quinn, Lawrie
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Raynsford, Nick
Jones, Helen (Warrington N) Rendel, David
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C) Rooney, Terry
Jones, Dr Lynne (Selly Oak) Rowlands, Ted
Keeble, Ms Sally Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree) Russell, Ms Christine (Chester)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie Salter, Martin
Kumar, Dr Ashok Savidge, Malcolm
Laxton, Bob Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Lepper, David Skinner, Dennis
Levitt, Tom Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Linton, Martin Soley, Clive
Livsey, Richard Southworth, Ms Helen
Llwyd, Elfyn Starkey, Dr Phyllis
McAllion, John Stewart, David (Inverness)
McAvoy, Thomas Stewart, Ian(Eccles)
McCafferty, Ms Chris Stinchcombe, Paul
McCartney, Ian (Makerfield) Stott, Roger
McDonagh, Siobhain Stuart, Ms Gisela
McFall, John Sutcliffe, Gerry
McGrady, Eddie Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
McGuire, Mrs Anne (Dewsbury)
MacKay, Andrew Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Mackinlay, Andrew Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
McNulty, Tony Timms, Stephen
Mactaggart, Fiona Touhig, Don
McWilliam, John Trickett, Jon
Mahon, Mrs Alice Turner, Dr Desmond(Kemptown)
Mallon, Seamus Vaz, Keith
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Walter, Robert
Marshall-Andrews, Robert Watts David
Maxton, John White, Brain
Merron, Gillian Whitehead, Dr Alan
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute) Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Moore, Michael Willis, Phil
Moran, Ms Margaret Wills, Michael
Morgan, Alasdair (Galloway) Woolas, Phil
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie Worthington, Tony
Mudie, George Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood) Tellers for the Ayes:
Murphy, Paul (Torfaen) Janet Anderson and
Norris, Dan Mr. Robert Ainsworth.
Forsythe, Clifford Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Hunter, Andrew Winterton, Mrs Ann(Congleton)
McCartney, Robert (N Down) Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Paisley, Rev Ian
Robertson, Laurence(Tewk'b'ry) Tellers for the Noes:
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E) Mr. Roy Begg And
Ross, William (E Lond'y) Mr. William Thompson.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read then Third time, and passed

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