HC Deb 20 October 1999 vol 336 cc430-1
7. Mr. Andrew Dismore (Hendon)

If he will make a statement on the Patten commission's report on policing in Northern Ireland. [92977]

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. Adam Ingram)

On 9 September, the Patten commission issued its report and the Secretary of State announced that the Government accepted its findings in principle. A copy of the statement has been placed in the Library of the House. As required by the Belfast agreement, the Government are consulting various parties. Consultation will last until the end of November and an implementation plan will then be published.

Mr. Dismore

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Patten report provides a blueprint for the future policing of Northern Ireland which has the potential to take the politics out of policing and to take forward the political process? Does he also agree that political progress will aid the implementation of the Patten report?

Mr. Ingram

I think that that would have resonance in many of the key sectors in Northern Ireland, as my hon. Friend says, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made clear in an earlier answer the way in which the Government are taking the matter forward. This is an important report, which will lead to better policing in Northern Ireland in the future. That is what all communities in Northern Ireland want.