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Lembit Öpik: I am grateful to the Minister for giving the answer for which I was looking. The amendment was merely a probing amendment. Can he confirm that he will be willing to have such meetings with parties that are willing to make that contribution within, say, the next eight weeks? I ask for that because it has taken us a very long time to get from the original correspondence to a situation where the Government are expressly accepting that some things may need to change.

5.15 pm

Mr. Hanson: I am happy to have discussions with the parties. I would not wish, for my benefit, to put a time scale on them at this stage—contradictory as that may seem. The hon. Gentleman knows that as well as dealing with legislation and other matters, we are running Departments in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Office therefore has a heavy work load. I will consider the issues and we will hold discussions. However, on the basis of those reassurances, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not press his amendment No. 1 to a Division.

I am grateful for the debate, which was helpful, but I hope that the hon. Member for Belfast, North will withdraw his amendment.

Mr. Dodds: I have listened carefully to the Minister's response. I am grateful for his recognition that the IMC report shows work in progress by the IRA. When we listened to some press reports and comments before it was released, it appeared to some of us that there was an attempt to spin it to suggest that no Unionist could now use the IRA as an excuse in the context of restoring devolved Government. The hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) was right to say that it is essential to examine the IMC report carefully in the round.

It is clear that progress has been made. As we said yesterday, we believe that the Democratic Unionist party can claim much credit for that. Before our position
 
27 Apr 2006 : Column 799
 
became the dominant one in Unionism, there was a view that the way to get the IRA away from violence was to bring it in and let the violence, drug dealing, intimidation and racketeering continue because being in government and having access to power would gradually wean it from all that. In fact, it had power and continued with its violence, racketeering and so on. We have made it clear that there must be an end to all that before the IRA can access power or authority. That strategy is working. Let us continue to keep up the pressure.

The Minister signally failed to answer the question of what was so magical about the deadline of 24 November. He did not provide one reason or argument to persuade people that the process would be complete by 24 November. No one can say when it will be completed. We all hope and pray, for the good of the people of Northern Ireland, that it will be completed sooner rather than later, but how have the Government arrived at the date of 24 November? No one can say that the IRA will have completed the transformation by that date. We therefore believe that it is wrong to pull down the curtain on the prospects of restoring devolution simply because the IRA may not have fulfilled the necessary conditions to allow Sinn Fein to be part of an Executive in Northern Ireland.

The debate has been useful and we shall not press amendment No. 14 to a Division. Although we believe that it would be useful to include such a provision in the Bill, and we will take account of it along with several other issues when those matters are decided, we will not press it today. However, we shall press amendment No. 10, which covers the deadline, to a Division, for the reasons that I have enunciated. I am grateful for the support of the hon. Member for Tewkesbury and his colleagues. We hope that as many hon. Members as possible can join us in the Lobby.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 64, Noes 256.

Division No. 218
[5.18 pm


AYES

Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Baldry, Tony
Bercow, John
Bone, Mr. Peter
Brokenshire, James
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Donaldson, Mr. Jeffrey M.
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Field, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Gauke, Mr. David
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Harper, Mr. Mark
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Herbert, Nick
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Jones, Mr. David
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Maples, Mr. John
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Randall, Mr. John
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Scott, Mr. Lee
Simpson, David
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Walter, Mr. Robert
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Wilson, Sammy
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Yeo, Mr. Tim

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Gregory Campbell and
Mrs. Iris Robinson

NOES

Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barrett, John
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benton, Mr. Joe
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Caton, Mr. Martin
Challen, Colin
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clelland, Mr. David
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Durkan, Mark
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Farrelly, Paul
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hanson, Mr. David
Harris, Mr. Tom
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hermon, Lady
Heyes, David
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Hughes, Simon
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Jones, Lynne
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Khabra, Mr. Piara S.
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
MacDougall, Mr. John
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonnell, Dr. Alasdair
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh Mr. John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGrady, Mr. Eddie
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Mr. David
Miliband, Edward
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Reid, Mr. Alan
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Simpson, Alan
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Teather, Sarah
Thornberry, Emily
Thurso, John
Timms, Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Mr. Shaun
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Parmjit Dhanda and
Mr. Dave Watts

Question accordingly negatived.


 
27 Apr 2006 : Column 801
 

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.


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