§ The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Young)
My Lords, I think it right that before we begin today's business we should pause to associate ourselves with the tributes paid yesterday in another place to the Reverend Robert Bradford. I know that noble Lords on all Benches will join with me in expressing horror and revulsion at the assassination, and extend sympathy to Mrs. Bradford, to her family, to Robert Bradford's constituents in Belfast and to his friends and colleagues in another place. Perhaps I could also echo the words spoken by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister later, last night, when she stressed that reconciliation is the path to peace.
§ Lord Blease
My Lords, in the solemnity of this House I rise to share with the noble Baroness the Leader of the House in this tribute to the memory of the MP for South Belfast, Robert Bradford, and with the expressions of sympathy with his family concerning his brutal assassination. Today is yet another day of darkness and grief in Ulster, but I am very conscious that any words of mine here today will fail to express the terrible sense of outrage, fear and concern throughout Northern Ireland at the continuing cold, calculating acts of murder and revenge killings. Such crimes are the evil product of bigotry, vile sectarianism and blind hatred. As long as these evils exist there can be no peace or reconciliation. I would join with the noble Baroness and invite the support of this House for the words of the Prime Minister last evening, that there must be community commitment and determined action, but such action must not be violent nor indiscriminate; it must be within the law and in accordance with representative parliamentary democracy.
§ Lord Byers
My Lords, from these Benches we would also wish to be associated with the many tributes paid to the Reverend Robert Bradford, and we offer our most sincere sympathies to his widow and his family. 398 We also join with all those who have condemned this appalling killing and with those who have made the pleas for restraint.
§ Baroness Hylton-Foster
My Lords, I am sure that those sitting on the Cross-Benches would also like to be associated with yesterday's tributes and with the message of sympathy to Mrs. Bradford and her family as expressed by the noble Baroness the Leader of the House.
The Lord Bishop of Exeter
My Lords, the Lords Spiritual, I am sure, would wish to be associated with the tributes that have been paid to the Reverend Robert Bradford, and to deplore, as has already been deplored from different parts of your Lordships' House, the appalling action which brought about his death. We, too, would wish to be associated with the expression of condolences to his widow and to his family.
§ Lord Soper
My Lords, may I be permitted to add a word as a Methodist Minister. Robert Bradford was a Methodist Minister, and he carries, and has carried, the sympathy and understanding of all Methodists, and I would like to be associated with what has already been said.