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Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman must use the correct parliamentary language, and I would be grateful if he would direct his remarks towards the draft orders.

Mr. Robinson: I am content to address the referendum issue, and the opinions of the people must be central to what the referendum is about. I am making it very clear that, although the Northern Ireland Office and its Ministers may attempt, as the leaked document said, to give the impression that the agreement has overwhelming support in Northern Ireland, a majority of the Unionist people will not vote yes to the agreement. If hon. Members do not believe it now, they may be prepared to change their minds after 22 May.

What are the circumstances for assistance to the two campaigns in the referendum? The Republic of Ireland Government funds the two campaigns equally. They do not count the number of parties in either section and give an allocation on that basis. The two camps get similar funding. That, I understand, is not the Government's intention. They intend to help the yes campaign on a 4:1 basis. Will the Minister make it clear that he will fund the two campaigns equally?

I join the Minister in expressing appreciation, both personally and on behalf of my party, to the chairman of the forum, John Gorman. He is in every sense of the word a gentleman. Anyone who chairs a political forum with elected representatives from Northern Ireland has a difficult task. Politicians from Northern Ireland can be very passionate about their politics. He has had a major task to perform, but he has done it without causing offence to any member of the forum, and he walks out of it with the respect of all the members. I am not sure that many others could have attained that.

John Gorman has done an excellent job, and so has the forum. It is often derided, especially by those who would not play a full part in it, but every week committees considered every aspect of government and produced reports that went to Ministers. Even this Friday, another Minister will come to the forum to speak to members and answer their questions. It has been a worthwhile exercise. I happen to believe in devolution. I would love to have seen a real devolved Government in Northern Ireland.

Regrettably, this agreement more than anything else has shattered that dream because it makes it clear that there is a price for devolution and it is that we have to link ourselves up to an all-Ireland process at the same time.

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As far as I am concerned, that is a price which is too high to pay. Therefore, the only alternative for the people of Northern Ireland is to have a completely United Kingdom settlement. It is not possible for the people of Northern Ireland to have devolution without its being tied into a united Ireland process.

Therefore, the forum has been a useful exercise. Regrettably, it will never have any powers and I do not believe that any real democratic assembly will ever replace it.

11.50 pm

Mr. William Thompson (West Tyrone): We have come to the end of this debate, and it is time to go forward to the country to fight in the referendum and subsequently in the election for the assembly.

At the referendum, the people of Northern Ireland will be faced with two choices, whether to vote yes for the agreement or no. All the media will be for a yes, as will many of the great and good and also several Church leaders, because many believe that they should always follow the establishment, but there will be others, and I shall be one of them, who will unashamedly ask the people to vote no. If they vote yes, they will be voting to be second-class citizens within the United Kingdom. If they vote yes and accept the agreement, they will be accepting that this Parliament no longer wants them and that, in reality, it wishes to put them into a united Ireland.

If people vote yes in the referendum, they will be voting that those who have murdered their kinsmen and done the most foul deeds be released on to the streets. If they vote yes, they will be voting that the Royal Ulster Constabulary, which is the finest police force in the world, should be changed out of all recognition and be that great body no more. That is what will happen if they vote yes.

There are those who will say, "If you vote no, you're against peace," and, "If you vote no, the agreement will be imposed on you anyway." I say to them: if the British Government want to impose something on Northern Ireland against the wishes of the Northern Ireland people, let them do so, but we do not have to agree with it or be part of it.

Again, there are those who will say, "If you vote no, what is the alternative?" For the Ulster people, the alternative is to demand, as equal citizens of the United Kingdom, that they be treated the same--equally--and have parity with every other part of the United Kingdom.

The people of Northern Ireland, especially the Unionist people, demand no advantage. They do not demand anything greater than anyone else. All we demand is that we are treated as equal citizens within this kingdom and that the same rules and system of government apply in Northern Ireland as in every other part of the United Kingdom.

For far too long, we have been bedevilled by the idea that there are two, diverse, opposite communities in Northern Ireland--that every Roman Catholic is a nationalist and every Protestant a Unionist. The reality is different: more than 70 per cent. of the people of Northern Ireland are quite happy to live in the United Kingdom, abide by its laws and accept the police force of Northern Ireland. Only a small minority bent on violence is determined to split the people of Northern Ireland and eventually to take us out of the United Kingdom. It is

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only by voting no that the people of Northern Ireland can insist that they will not be second-class citizens, that they will not go into a united Ireland and that they wish to be equal to every other citizen of the United Kingdom.

Some Scottish Members have spoken tonight. You are getting a Parliament in Scotland. You would not accept in Scotland what you say we have to accept in Northern Ireland. You would not accept a power-sharing Executive.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. May I remind the hon. Gentleman, as I have just reminded another hon. Member, first to use the correct parliamentary language, and, secondly, to address the draft orders?

Mr. Thompson: I have almost finished. Hon. Members from Scotland and Wales are trying to force on Northern Ireland something that they would not have for themselves. That is rank hypocrisy.

11.56 pm

Mr. Phil Willis (Harrogate and Knaresborough): What a sad litany we heard from the hon. Members for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) and for West Tyrone (Mr. Thompson). They claim to be democrats, but seem to be frightened of the democratic process. That is the basic issue. They say that they regret asking the people whether they want lasting peace, a say in their future or to live in normality like the rest of the people of the United Kingdom. Regrets? We have no regrets. The people of Northern Ireland should have the chance, and on 22 May we hope that they will have it, to put aside those siren voices and vote yes overwhelmingly. We support the orders.

11.57 pm

Rev. Ian Paisley (North Antrim): It is amusing to hear the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis). His sister party cannot even get people elected to this House, yet he tells us what the people of Northern Ireland think. How many times has Lord Alderdice fought Belfast, East and how many thumpings has my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) given him? The deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats' sister party could not even elected to the forum; he had to be a top-up candidate.

When my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, East spoke, people laughed about the document that I have here. That is why I have intervened. The document was approved by the Secretary of State and was drawn up by a fellow called Kelly, who has his own interests. He is a civil servant, but he has large interests in advertising and public relations firms. He says that advertising on its own will not convince the public to vote yes in the referendum, but, as part of an integrated campaign, it could play a crucial role in alerting the public to precisely what is at stake.

I notice from the document that has been given to us that the Government are going to spend £3 million on this election. What is that for? The document says that the

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cost of the election is not expected to exceed £3 million. Three million pounds is to be spent in the south of Ireland, but there is a difficulty because there the money must be halved: £1.5 million has to be set aside for the no campaign and £1.5 million for the yes campaign. That is not so in Northern Ireland.

I am leader of the second largest party in the forum. Hon. Members have spoken of the Democratic Unionist party as a rump party, like the Progressive Unionist or Ulster Democratic parties. The official Unionists have 30 members, my party has 24 members, the SDLP 21 and I think that Sinn Fein has 17. So here we have parties entering into the process. Can the Minister tell us tonight what he is going to do about the matters that I mentioned? Where is the £3 million to be spent? Of course, Mr. Kelly says that he has got a man closely associated with him personally. The document says that he has commissioned McCann Erickson to have both quantitative and qualitative research carried out without its being seen to be Government-inspired. This is the transparency of new Labour. Oh yes, whether we are doing any advertising or not.

We have a great advertisement in our papers saying, "The Choice is Yours". There is no signature on it. When we took the advertising and turned it round, an action was brought against us for copyright and we found out who was behind it. It was Kelly--he was doing it. Three million pounds.

The hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough said, "We want to have a referendum." It was my party which fought for a referendum. My party disagreed with the official Unionist party on that very issue. I believe that we should have a referendum, but I want to say to the Government that they should be prepared to play on a level playing field and say, "All right, let the people of Ulster speak. We shall divide the money." I do not mind if no money comes from the Government.

The other day there was an £8,000 advertisement in the paper. Who was it from? There is not a politician in this House who knows. I have my ear fairly well to the ground and I do not know. I have questioned many and they do not know. It was from the silent majority. What was its heading? It was, "The agreement is suicidal to Ulster". It shocked Northern Ireland. Mr. Kelly had the rickets when he saw it. The Government have now called in a Mr. Tony McCusker to co-ordinate a database that will pick out key movers and shakers from all sections of the community. The spin doctors are at work all right. They are doing a good job.

Unfortunately, the name was let out--none other than the Archbishop of Armagh. The poor archbishop nearly had the rickets too because his telephone started to ring. People from the Church of Ireland called to say, "We do not like archbishops who are in politics. Politics is a dirty game and you should not be in it." Others said, "And you are going to try and sell us out in Northern Ireland." The poor archbishop was very angry and the Secretary of State had to apologise, and one apology was not enough. He had to give a further apology. One by one, the names of the shakers are coming out and people are now saying, "We do not want to be identified with this."

The Government should not think that the Northern Ireland people are stupid and that they are going to listen to people just because the Government employ them.

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Northern Ireland is a very small place; we know everything about everybody and everybody knows everything about us. So let me say to the House tonight that this is not the way to conduct politics. Let the people of Northern Ireland have their say, but let it be on a level playing field. I know what is happening. I know some of the dirty tricks played in the past by Departments and Governments on this side of the water. I know all about it and let me tell the House: truth will out.

I am looking forward to 22 May, but I have not heard the Government make any comment on what I said in the other debate, or on what my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, East said about the consensus. The right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) said, "We shall certainly need well over the 70 per cent. mark," but he has now reduced that figure to over the 60 per cent. mark, and soon it will be down to just over the 50 per cent. mark. Let me tell the House that to have a clear statement that the majority of both nationalists and Unionists agree, the yes vote must be 70 per cent. We shall see.

Let the election take place, but let it take place in fairness and not with the taking of taxpayers' money and trying to make people believe as the Government believe, outlined in this document. They do not have to live there; they do not have to follow the coffins; they do not have to suffer. This past week, I have had with me a lady who lost her husband in a brutal attack by an IRA man. She said to me, "I am afraid that I'll not even have the courage to go out of my home when the man is released who killed my husband." What do we say to people like her--that we are sensitive to her troubles, but we have to let such men out?

The House should allow the election to take place in an honourable and decent manner, not with the sort of thing outlined in this document and the misuse of £3 million. I want to know what the £3 million is for.

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