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Mr. Dodds: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way because he makes a very important point. Not only

11 Feb 2004 : Column 1469

have the Government played a major role in the concessions to the IRA, but the IRA could not have achieved what it has without the explicit acts of the Ulster Unionist party under the leadership of the right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble), and the role that he has played will go down in history as one of arch-capitulation to the IRA over the past 10 years.

Mr. Campbell: I thank my hon. Friend for that intervention. Indeed, I am reminded of an interview and a quotation that the right hon. Member for Upper Bann gave in September 1998, when he said that we have to stand "rock solid" and that

I could not agree more with those comments, but the right hon. Gentleman did not stand by them.

Mr. Frank Field: Would not the future of Ulster be better served if its Members did not keep looking backwards and giving such quotations, but accepted the judgment of the ballot box, which makes it quite clear what ordinary voters think, and moved the agenda on?

Mr. Campbell: I thank the right hon. Gentleman, but we have to remember what the ballot box declared on 26 November. We must move forward, and we believe that the way to do that is, in the case of all the paramilitary groups, not to ask them to give up their weapons, nor for the rest of us simply to hope that they will give up their weapons, but for it to be made clear that there is no alternative but for them to give up their weapons. Then we will all move forward on a basis of some sort of stability and with the hope that we can make progress. Progress must be made.

I do not believe that the current position, which the Minister has described, is likely to lead to that progress being made, because we have been waiting and waiting. The hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Lembit Öpik) pointed out that 12 months ago, the Minister said that she hoped not to be back here today; but here we are. Will we be back again in 12 months' time—or in two, three or four years' time—still awaiting the movement that will not come about unless we apply the pressure that will ensure that it does?

3.41 pm

Jane Kennedy: I can tell the hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) that I do not have to hand the figures that he was seeking earlier, but I shall write to him with the detail and place a copy of my letter in the Library.

This has been a typically thoughtful, challenging and—for the Government—punchy debate, and I have listened to the many points made. I can well recall making the comments that I made last year, and I shall not repeat them this year—[Interruption.] The Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Angela Smith), says from a sedentary position that she hopes that she is not here this time next year.

It is important that we constantly bear in mind the bigger picture and the objectives that we are striving towards, which I know are shared on both sides of the

11 Feb 2004 : Column 1470

House. The hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Lidington) mentioned the confidentiality that surrounds the acts of decommissioning. It is enshrined in the scheme published back in 1998, to which the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire (Lembit Öpik) referred, and it is probably still the case that we would not get acts of decommissioning without the confidentiality arrangements. However, they impact significantly on people's confidence and trust, and on the veracity surrounding the decommissioning process.

We can sometimes, on these occasions, become stuck in a doom-laden debate about the state of affairs in Northern Ireland, but my normally happy disposition leads me to remind the House that matters have improved and that there has been progress in Northern Ireland recently. Economic progress is self-evident: employment is at an all-time high, and Belfast city centre is a joyous place to visit these days, full of life and activity. Young people can go about their business there and visit restaurants, pubs and clubs without the constant fear that they have experienced in the past. It is true to say that a whole generation has grown up in a more peaceful environment.

David Burnside rose—

Jane Kennedy: I hesitate to give way because I have given time during the debate, but I shall do so just once.

David Burnside: I thank the Minister, and I shall be very brief. The majority of people in Northern Ireland would like to agree with her happy, optimistic view of the future, and that is how we should all look forward. However, does she not realise that it is the base of criminality growing in the loyalist and republican communities, which cannot be touched, beaten or destroyed, that has disillusioned people so much with the whole decommissioning and political process called "the peace process"?

Jane Kennedy: I do understand that, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for reminding the House of it. It is because I am aware of that matter that I bend so much of my energies to working with the law-enforcement agencies to interrupt and prevent the development of that sort of culture.

In a light moment, the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire talked about going back to his office to prepare for government. I pay tribute to his diligence. If I were in his place at five to nine in the morning, I would have gone back to my breakfast. I shall have to read the Hansard account of the debate, but I do not think that the hon. Gentleman, when he talked about trusting the paramilitaries, was inviting us to do so.

Lembit Öpik indicated dissent.

Jane Kennedy: The hon. Gentleman shakes his head. The fact is that we cannot trust the paramilitaries. That is why we have the IICD, and why the role that it plays is so important. I think that that was the point that the hon. Gentleman was making.

The right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble) challenged the Government, quite properly, about what we are doing to maintain pressure on

11 Feb 2004 : Column 1471

paramilitary organisations, and especially on the paramilitary organisation that has the greatest responsibility in these matters, given that its political representatives have participated in a power-sharing Government in the past. I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that the Government believe that we must maintain the pressure, and that we must therefore continue to provide the means by which decommissioning can be carried out. We are, with the IICD, resolutely determined to continue to complete decommissioning by all paramilitary organisations. One of the ways to achieve that is through dialogue, but there are many other ways. They include using the powers of law enforcement to interrupt, arrest and challenge the activities of the organisations on the ground.

All paramilitary organisations must give up violence completely, in a way that satisfies everyone and enables the people of Northern Ireland to move the democratic process forward. Every party that wants to be in government must abide by the same democratic rules.

I end by reminding the House of the comments of my hon. Friend the Member for South Down (Mr. McGrady), who said that decommissioning was not an optional extra. He is absolutely right. Decommissioning has to happen, and we must continue to work towards making it happen.

It being one and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, Madam Deputy Speaker put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 16.

The House divided: Ayes 446, Noes 16.

Division No. 52
[3:46 pm


Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Alexander, Douglas
Allan, Richard
Allen, Graham
Ancram, rh Michael
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Arbuthnot, rh James
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Barker, Gregory
Barnes, Harry
Barrett, John
Barron, rh Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, rh A. J.
Bell, Sir Stuart
Bellingham, Henry
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Bercow, John
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, rh David
Boateng, rh Paul
Borrow, David
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Breed, Colin
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Brown, rh Gordon (Dunfermline E)
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burnham, Andy
Butterfill, Sir John
Cairns, David
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies (NE Fife)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Carmichael, Alistair
Casale, Roger
Cash, William
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chaytor, David
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Collins, Tim
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Conway, Derek
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Cranston, Ross
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Ann (Keighley)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curry, rh David
Dalyell, Tam
Darling, rh Alistair
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dismore, Andrew
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Doughty, Sue
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Drown, Ms Julia
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Ennis, Jeff (Barnsley E)
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flight, Howard
Flint, Caroline
Flook, Adrian
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Don (Bath)
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Gardiner, Barry
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Grieve, Dominic
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Gummer, rh John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Hanson, David
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Healey, John
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hendry, Charles
Heppell, John
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Holmes, Paul
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howard, rh Michael
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkin, Bernard
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, rh Tessa
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Keetch, Paul
Kelly, Ruth (Bolton W)
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Andy (Rugby)
Kirkwood, Sir Archy
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Linton, Martin
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
Lyons, John (Strathkelvin)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
McDonnell, John
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGrady, Eddie
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNamara, Kevin
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Martlew, Eric
Mercer, Patrick
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Mole, Chris
Moore, Michael
Morley, Elliot
Moss, Malcolm
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, rh Paul (Torfaen)
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
O'Hara, Edward
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Owen, Albert
Page, Richard
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Paterson, Owen
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickles, Eric
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Portillo, rh Michael
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, rh John
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Randall, John
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Redwood, rh John
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Bellshill)
Rendel, David
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Rosindell, Andrew
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield N)
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Adrian
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sayeed, Jonathan
Sedgemore, Brian
Selous, Andrew
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simmonds, Mark
Simon, Siôn (B'ham Erdington)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Soames, Nicholas
Soley, Clive
Spellar, rh John
Steen, Anthony
Steinberg, Gerry
Stevenson, George
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Streeter, Gary
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Tredinnick, David
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Wareing, Robert N.
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Whittingdale, John
Wicks, Malcolm
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wishart, Pete
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:

Charlotte Atkins and
Vernon Coaker


Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Burnside, David
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Donaldson, Jeffrey M.
Hermon, Lady
Hogg, rh Douglas
Hunter, Andrew
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
Robathan, Andrew
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Trimble, rh David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Nigel Dodds and
Mrs. Iris Robinson

Question accordingly agreed to.

11 Feb 2004 : Column 1474


11 Feb 2004 : Column 1475

Opposition Day

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