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Employment Bill [Ways and Means]

Motion made and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order 52 (Money resolutions and ways and means resolutions in connections with bills),

Question agreed to.

Delegated Legislation

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): With the leave of the House, I will put motions 4, 5 and 6 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) ( Delegated Legislation Committees),

International Development

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Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) ( Delegated Legislation Committees),

Representation of the People

Question agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: With the leave of the House, I will put motions and 8 and 9 together.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) ( Delegated Legislation Committees),

Terms and Conditions of Employment

Environmental Protection

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 18 ( 1 ) ( Consideration of draft deregulation orders ),

Regulatory Reform

Question agreed to.


Motion made, a nd Question proposed,

9.4 pm

Mr. Philip Hollobone (Kettering) (Con): As a member of the Transport Committee, I did not want to let this moment pass without paying tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Scott) for his three years of service on the Committee. He has turned up on a regular basis and contributed throughout, and he will be much missed. However, his replacement, my hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mark Pritchard), will be a valuable addition to the membership of the Committee, and I am sure that all its members would like to welcome him in due course.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I am sure that the hon. Member for Ilford, North will blush suitably.

Question put and agreed to.

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Work and Pensions



HMRC Work Force Change

9.6 pm

Dan Rogerson (North Cornwall) (LD): I have the honour of presenting a petition on behalf of the people of the town of Launceston and the district of North Cornwall, who are concerned about the threat to the HMRC office in the town. The office employs between 50 and 60 members of staff who work on compliance— [ Interruption . ]

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but could hon. Members who are not staying to hear the petition or the remaining business please leave quickly and quietly? It is unfair to the hon. Gentleman, who is trying to be heard.

Dan Rogerson: I am grateful, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The officers work on compliance and processing of tax returns and do so very efficiently. In a small market town, the office is very significant in providing good-quality jobs. The protest in the town square that I attended and spoke at this morning included not only members of staff and representatives of their union but town councillors, district and county councillors and representatives from the chamber of commerce, who are concerned that those good-quality jobs could be lost from Launceston. I have already met the relevant Minister to raise these concerns but was keen to present this petition on behalf of the residents who have signed it.

The petition states:


Electric and Hybrid Cars

9.8 pm

Bob Spink (Castle Point) (UKIP): The vast majority of youngsters in Castle Point are decent, hard-working youngsters who worry about their studies and their future, and they care about the environment. Two such youngsters in my constituency have compiled a petition as part of a school project. I congratulate them, and all our other decent youngsters in Castle Point, on their initiative and work. The future certainly belongs to them.

The petition states:

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Planning and Development (Essex)

9.9 pm

Bob Spink: This petition highlights the systematic and inappropriate overdevelopment of Castle Point, which I have raised in this House many times, and it concerns residents and myself very much. I congratulate Brian Keeler and Mr. and Mrs. Patel on organising this petition, and I congratulate all who signed it.

The petition states:


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McGurk’s Bar Bombing

Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn. [Mr. Watts.]

9.11 pm

Michael Connarty (Linlithgow and East Falkirk) (Lab): I have asked for this debate on behalf of only one person, who is a relative of the people killed in the McGurk’s bar bombing on 4 December 1971—Mrs. Eileen Killin. I still refer to her as my aunt, and she is the sister of one of the people who was killed, Phillip Garry. She was Eileen Garry, and my grandmother is also a Garry. Others have contacted me, and I have had conversations with Patricia Irvine, who is still highly traumatised, all these years later. Her mother was killed, and she has written a number of open letters to one of the bombing team—a man who admitted that he was part of that team—asking him to explain why he did it, and to tell her who the other three men involved were and the name of the person who planted the bomb. That name has never been put into the public domain. It is only on behalf of Eileen Killin that I speak tonight.

I would like to put the facts on the record. At 8.45 pm on Saturday 4 December 1971, 15 people died as a result of a bomb explosion at McGurk’s bar, 81 to 83 North Queen street, Belfast. I would like to write into the record the names of the innocent victims—people who had no connection with any paramilitary organisation—who were out for a quiet night with their wives or their friends. The people killed were: Francis Bradley, 62 years old; John Colton, 49 years old; James Francis Cromie, 13 years old; Phillip Garry, my uncle Philly, who was 73 years old; Kathleen Irvine, 54 years old, the mother of Patricia Irvine; Edward Laurence Kane, 29 years old; Thomas Kane, 48 years old; Edward Keenan, 69 years old; Sarah Keenan, 58 years old; Elizabeth Philomena McGurk, 46 years old, the wife of the publican who ran the Tramore bar, normally known as McGurk’s bar; Maria McGurk, 14 years of age, the daughter of the McGurks; Thomas McLaughlin, 55 years old; David Milligan, 53 years old; James Patrick Smyth, 58 years old; and Robert Charles Spotswood, 35 years old. Some 16 other people were injured, some of whom carried their injuries to their death, including Mr. McGurk, who died at the end of 2007.

I would like to say a word about my uncle Philly. When I was a young lad, we had visits to my granny’s and—people from an extended Irish family will know this—the families gathered together. My uncle Philly was a bit of a character. He was a seaman and would entertain all the kids. To me, it is no surprise to find that he was a school crossing patrolman. I can imagine that he was quite a character even then, at 73 years old. I was at university when I heard that he had been blown up by a bomb in Belfast, where the Garry family lived—some of our family had moved to the north and some had come over to work in the steel mills of Lanarkshire, including the husband of my grandmother, Michael Plunkett.

Uncle Philly was the kind of character who left a memory, as a happy-go-lucky kind of guy. But there he was, out for his pint on that night with his friends and people out with their family, when what we now know to have happened took place. An Ulster Volunteer Force team, of which Robert Campbell was a member,
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was sent from a pub in west Belfast with the orders to blow up not McGurk’s bar—that is the point—but the Gem bar in the same street. The Gem bar was an IRA pub and was known as one—it was where members of the IRA gathered. When the members of that UVF team got there, they were cowards. They did not try to plant the bomb in a pub that was run by the IRA, so they went to the nearest Catholic pub and bombed innocent people out for a quiet drink.

I see my hon. Friend the Member for Morecambe and Lunesdale (Geraldine Smith), who used to live in the area. She knew the pub and, she has told me, knew the family.

Geraldine Smith (Morecambe and Lunesdale) (Lab): It really is a small world. When I was very young I went to the local school, St. Patrick’s, and knew my hon. Friend’s uncle Philly, the school patrolman who used to lead me across the road. My father knew him too, because they used to go to sea together before my hon. Friend’s uncle was a patrolman. The McGurks were a very decent and religious family, and everyone was filled with great sadness when that explosion happened.

Michael Connarty: That was the point—McGurk’s bar was not a pub that was involved in the troubles. The bombing happened in ’71. The troubles were bubbling up and there had been a few bombings in the Province, but the attack saw the largest loss of life in one bombing at that time.

As far as I am concerned, the perpetrators—Robert Campbell and his friends, the UVF hit men—were cowards. They did not try to bomb the pub that they were sent to, but, according to the evidence that he gave after his trial, they were told, “Don’t come back until the job is done.” The job was never done. The members of that team never bombed the Gem bar. They bombed a pub full of innocent people, putting the bomb inside a porch, which, as it happens, blew the walls out and roof off, killing the two children playing upstairs and 13 people in the public bar downstairs.

Let me turn to the role of the Army. I am not involved with any side in this business—accusations of collusion have flown around, given the fact that no Army patrols were around, and people have asked how that car got to that location in that area without being stopped, and so on. The car was never found when it was abandoned, which is interesting. However, I do not care about that. What I care about is the documents in the report, including the situation reports, which were secret until 30 years thereafter. The Pat Finucane centre submitted those reports, having found them, to the historical inquiries team. It is clear from the reports that there was a travesty involving the Army, which said in the report that the bomb was clearly inside the pub, because five men standing around it were blown to smithereens. The Army said that the bombing was clearly an IRA own goal—it said that the bomb was, in effect, in the pub in transit. That was then. The historical inquiries team report says that it was recommended that the Secretary of State answer a question in the House confirming that story.

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