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The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means (Mr. Michael J. Martin): Order. The right hon. Lady should not involve me in the argument.

Marjorie Mowlam: I apologise, Mr. Martin.

Let us look at what the Prime Minister said on 16 and 14 May, and compare it with the Bill. Judging from what Opposition Members have said, I do not think that they have done that, but I tell them that the words are there. It is wrong to suggest that the Prime Minister has failed to keep his promises on Northern Ireland. In his written pledge to the people of Northern Ireland, he said:


As I explained earlier, that is the fundamental test underlying the agreement. It is reflected in the need for a complete and unequivocal ceasefire that is set out in the clause.

Those who said that the Prime Minister had swung the referendum vote were probably right. I do not doubt that he increased the yes vote: his 14 May speech in Belfast marked a crucial turning point. Opposition Members suggested that that made all the difference, but the vote was positive anyway. To suggest that the Prime Minister's speech was the overwhelming criterion is unrealistic. Unfortunately, some hon. Members seem not to have read the speech in detail. Far from departing from it or fudging it, the Government have taken care to reflect clearly and directly the exact terms of its undertakings.

I have here a copy of the Prime Minister's speech. Opposition Members quoted from it, and I have been trying to find the parts that they quoted, but I do not think that their remarks reflected in any way what the Prime Minister said. He said:


Those factors are listed in the Bill: the Prime Minister's words are in the Bill. His four factors included full co-operation--

Mr. Moss: Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Marjorie Mowlam: No. I have told other hon. Members that I want to answer the questions that have been asked. The hon. Gentleman could have spoken earlier, but obviously chose not to do so.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 103

The Prime Minister's four factors included full co-operation with the independent commission on decommissioning to implement the agreement's provisions.

Mr. Moss: Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Marjorie Mowlam: No. I have made it clear to the hon. Gentleman that I am not giving way.

Mr. Moss: I shall remember that the Minister did not let me in.

Marjorie Mowlam: It is depressing that the hon. Gentleman finds it necessary to issue threats. I shall not give way.

The Prime Minister's first factor--full co-operation with the independent commission on decommissioning to implement the agreement's provisions--is reflected in clause 3(9)(d).

The hon. Member for Basingstoke asked about the relationship between proscription and specifying organisations in the Bill. As my hon. Friend the Minister of State, the Member for East Kilbride (Mr. Ingram) has said, proscription is concerned with the purposes of an organisation, and the Bill is concerned with the adequacy of the ceasefire. There is no conflict between those definitions.

The hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) spoke movingly about the victims of the troubles. I know the hon. Gentleman's background, and I understand his feelings on the issue. We have visited, known or had experience of families who have suffered as a result of the troubles. But nobody has a monopoly on suffering; in last week's debate suffering was almost traded, and that was rather distasteful. The Good Friday agreement has the consent of the people of Northern Ireland, and it is an attempt to ensure that no more of the hon. Gentleman's colleagues in the forces, or people in Northern Ireland, will have to go through such pain.

We have a chance to make the agreement work, but many hon. Members think that it will not. It is the best chance we have had for many years for a settlement in Northern Ireland. The hon. Member for Aldershot spoke about the violence of splinter groups. I agree that there is such violence, that it is disruptive, and that those groups want to destroy the peace process. The one way in which we can make sure that they do not is to keep up security, because the Government's first job is to protect the people of Northern Ireland. I guarantee that that will continue, but we must also show that there is an alternative way forward.

There must be accommodation and discussion, and the agreement is the first step in that direction. I do not say that we have arrived, because there is much building to be done, and confidence and trust to be put in place, but I hope that the agreement will enable people to take a positive step in the right direction.

The hon. Member for Aldershot also said several times that the Prime Minister's comments on 6 May and 14 May are not in the Bill, as did the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Maclean). They tried to

15 Jun 1998 : Column 104

portray the Prime Minister as having been less than honest, and to say that he had deceived people. They should look at his speeches, at what is in the Bill, and at the commitment that he has put into getting the process to where it is. This is an attempt to make political capital out of the situation rather than change it. [Interruption.] Conservative Members may say that that is not the case, but that is what it feels like.

Mr. Moss: Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Marjorie Mowlam: Let me finish the point; then I shall certainly give way.

I have no desire to fall out with the Opposition. In opposition, I was clear that bipartisanship made a difference. It helped no end as we worked together. Despite the aggression that has often come from Conservative Members, I hope that we can have our differences on this even though we fundamentally agree that it is the way forward, and try to move the process forward. I hope that that is possible.

Mr. Moss: I am most grateful to the Secretary of State for giving way. I have a simple question. In clause 3, the Government have attempted to define a terrorist organisation. Our amendment No. (d) uses the words


How does that differ fundamentally from the words in the agreement on decommissioning:


    "All participants accordingly reaffirm their commitment to the total disarmament of all paramilitary organisations . . . to achieve the decommissioning of all paramilitary arms within two years"?

That is 22 May 2000.

Marjorie Mowlam: We are not going to get very far by reading parts of the Bill to each other. We have faithfully represented in the Bill the agreement that was signed and the comments that the Prime Minister made. Opposition Members can try to imply differently, but we have acted in good faith in the Bill, in line with the reassurances that the Prime Minister gave on the agreement. That is why we have not accepted the amendments.

Mr. Winnick: My right hon. Friend said that she wants to work with the Opposition. Does she remember the many occasions when we were in opposition when we could have made mileage out of the Government's position, such as when they were conducting contacts with the IRA without any ceasefire? We refused to do that, because we believed that Government and Opposition should work together in the interests of Northern Ireland. Should not they learn that lesson?

Marjorie Mowlam: I thank my hon. Friend. I agree. I am trying tonight not to indulge in what some sections of the Opposition want us to do: to show a difference. I said "some sections", because I do not believe that my discussions with those on the Opposition Front Bench are fully played out by Back-Bench Members. That, I think, is the situation. I have avoided pointing out the contradictions with what has happened in the past, because I want to look to the future in Northern Ireland, not live in the past.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 105

Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill:--

The Committee divided: Ayes 221, Noes 10.

Division No. 303
[9.43 pm


AYES


Ainger, Nick
Allan, Richard
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Ashdown, Rt Hon Paddy
Ashton, Joe
Ballard, Jackie
Banks, Tony
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Bell, Martin (Tatton)
Bermingham, Gerald
Best, Harold
Bradley, Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Brinton, Mrs Helen
Brown, Rt Hon Nick (Newcastle E)
Browne, Desmond
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burstow, Paul
Butler, Mrs Christine
Byers, Stephen
Campbell, Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell-Savours, Dale
Canavan, Dennis
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Chidgey, David
Chisholm, Malcolm
Church, Ms Judith
Clark, Rt Hon Dr David (S Shields)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, Charles (Norwich S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom
Cryer, Mrs Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Darvill, Keith
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dismore, Andrew
Dobson, Rt Hon Frank
Donohoe, Brian H
Dowd, Jim
Drew, David
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Fearn, Ronnie
Field, Rt Hon Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Michael J (Worcester)
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew (St Ives)
George, Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr Ian
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Gordon, Mrs Eileen
Gorrie, Donald
Grant, Bernie
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr Evan
Harvey, Nick
Heal, Mrs Sylvia
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hoon, Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Howells, Dr Kim
Hurst, Alan
Hutton, John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Ingram, Adam
Jackson, Ms Glenda (Hampstead)
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Miss Melanie
(Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Jones, Ieuan Wyn (Ynys Mon)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Lawrence, Ms Jackie
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom
Llwyd, Elfyn
Love, Andrew
McAvoy, Thomas
McCafferty, Ms Chris
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Mrs Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
Maxton, John
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Alun
Michie, Bill (Shef'ld Heeley)
Michie, Mrs Ray (Argyll & Bute)
Milburn, Alan
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Moffatt, Laura
Moonie, Dr Lewis
Moran, Ms Margaret
Morgan, Rhodri (Cardiff W)
Mowlam, Rt Hon Marjorie
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
Olner, Bill
Osborne, Ms Sandra
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Ms Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter L
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pope, Greg
Pound, Stephen
Powell, Sir Raymond
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prosser, Gwyn
Radice, Giles
Raynsford, Nick
Reed, Andrew (Loughborough)
Rendel, David
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooker, Jeff
Rooney, Terry
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheerman, Barry
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Soley, Clive
Squire, Ms Rachel
Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stunell, Andrew
Taylor, Rt Hon Mrs Ann
(Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Touhig, Don
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Tyler, Paul
Ward, Ms Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watts, David
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Alan W (E Carmarthen)
Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Willis, Phil
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Dr Tony (Cannock)

Tellers for the Ayes:


Mr. Kevin Hughes and
Mr. Robert Ainsworth.


NOES


Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Donaldson, Jeffrey
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hunter, Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
Paisley, Rev Ian
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Swayne, Desmond
Thompson, William
Wilkinson, John

Tellers for the Noes:


Mr. William Ross and
Rev. Martin Smyth.

Question accordingly agreed to.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 106

Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 4 to 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

To report progress and ask leave to sit again.--[Mr. Dowd.]

Committee report progress; to sit again tomorrow.


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