Live Northern Ireland Questions House of Commons

Live Northern Ireland Questions

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to the Northern Ireland secretary James Brokenshire and his ministerial team.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Live Northern Ireland Questions. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Welcome to the BBC's coverage of the House of Commons. There will be too


urgent questions. The first is tabled by deadbeat Abrahams about


payments regulations and the second comes from the women and equality


committee Mariah Miller about women wearing headscarves in the


workplace. Then the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will make a


statement on national insurance contributions and Priti Patel will


update the Commons on issues relating to Isis, or Daesh. Do join


me for a round-up of the day in both houses at 11pm tonight, and before


that, we have questions for the Secretary of State for Northern


Ireland about private legislation. All that! Order! The clerk will now


receive two read the title of the private bill set down for


consideration. Second reading. Wednesday the 22nd of March. Thank


you. Order! Questions for the Secretary of State for Northern


Ireland. Minister, Chris Hopkins. I condemn the irresponsible and the


disgraceful comments by Jeremy McGrath, I support the judiciary in


Northern Ireland and any attack on them is an acceptable. I thank the


Minister for his response, but what I am calling on is asked to contact


the PPS that man released on licence, a man with a lengthy


history of violence is not being pursued by DP S N I. What will the


Minister do to ensure action is taken. Thank you. I thank the


honourable gentleman for his question. I reiterate a condemnation


of his comments, Gerry McGrath, but if we are given the relevant


information and consider whether we can suspend the license. It's up for


the commissioners to discuss that. It would be wrong for us to try to


fix the system further down. I trust our police service, and the PPS to


make the right decision. The Minister will know that he did not


receive a comfort lesson, but that scheme of those on the run, operated


by both Labour and Conservative governments was utterly deplorable,


immoral and wrong. Can you confirm whether anything like this is on the


table for Sinn Fein at this time? I think that would be very helpful.


The Government is committed to resolving issues in Northern


Ireland, and I believe parties in Northern Ireland share this


commitment. I will continue to return to Belfast to establish a


partnership executive in the short time frame available. Progress has


been made that needs to continue with urgency in order to achieve a


positive outcome. I, as a nurse, am acutely aware that a budget needs to


be set to insure public services are adequately funded, but without a


Northern Ireland executive in place it is almost impossible. Does he


share my fear is that failure to restore an executive is putting


Northern Ireland in severe financial risk? I think my honourable friend


highlights some of the issues regarding setting a budget for


Northern Ireland which is a key priority. She highlights the health


service and I pay tribute to those working there. There's a sense of


opportunity that new executive can take forward and ?120 million that


was taken into account. This could take Northern Ireland forward. May I


first, on behalf of my colleagues express my condolences to those


families of the crew 's in that Northern Ireland helicopter that


crashed. We would like to spread deep sympathy at this time. Also,


George Gilmore, murdered in Carrickfergus. An appalling crime


carried out it appears to be by loyalist paramilitary. We need to


move forward on the Stormont House agreement, tacking the pal a


paramilitary. I agree with the honourable gentleman in his current


thoughts about the crew of the Irish helicopter. It's a terrible tragedy


and I know the whole House will share that and I join with him in


condemning that appalling murder that has taken place. I have spoken


to DPS and I and I know they are actively pursuing lines of enquiry.


-- PNSI. I will continue to work to confront that scourge. There's no


reason for it at all. We are trying to put ?25 million towards the


importance of that work. The Secretary of State will be aware


that this party is absolutely and totally committed getting devolution


back. We didn't create that present crisis. Others walked away. We are


determined to restore this as quickly as possible. We heard what


they write Minister had to say. Can the Minister confirm that the Irish


Republic's involvement is limited to strands two and three when it is


regarding the Republic. I can certainly give him that


contemplation. The Irish Government will be playing in that context, and


the responsibilities we all feel in seeing a devolved Government getting


back, delivering for Northern Ireland. That is something I know


all the parties recognise. Having been a member of Parliament prior to


devolution, I'm aware of the total inadequacy of direct rule. Can my


honourable friend ensure that he is undertaking these negotiations with


the utmost urgency to get a deal on devolved Government. I can give that


confirmation, because devolved Government is the only thing I'm


working towards, recognising that that is what the people of Northern


Ireland voted for and wanted to see. Delivering that change, that


positive impact on peoples lives and that's the urgency we are


approaching with. I'm pleased to hear from the honourable gentleman


that he is rolling out the direct rule option. But what is the


contingency if there is no agreement reached, and will he extend that


period if no agreement is reached? What I would say to the honourable


lady, is that the UK Government takes its responsibility seriously


when it comes to political responsibility, but the real intent


is there in securing an agreement in that three-week period. I believe it


is achievable. And it's weird that goodwill and approach that I believe


the parties will engage to achieve that outcome and speculating on


alternative approaches is not helpful. Can I echo the comments for


the member of the member for Belfast North on those who have recently


lost their lives. We will be behind the Secretary of State in trying to


re-establish after these re-elections. But if local


politicians are wise enough not to form an administration, would he


consider taking measures to cease paying salaries and expenses to


those who have been elected? I think my honourable friend is equally


highlighting a report that was published in the last week on this


very issue. I would say to him that my focus and intent is in getting


the parties to get together to reach that agreement in three weeks. I


think that is doable with urgency, with a sense of goodwill. It's a


rather sombre day because it marks the Ides of March, but this Friday,


we will have a chance to fail glorious and Patrick, and may I wish


you and the House wish you a happy Saint Patrick's Day in advance. And


I can't remember a more serious time since the Good Friday agreement was


signed. May I say to my colleagues that normal hostilities are


suspended. We will be offering unequivocal support to the Minister,


and the Government and the time -- and the time for working together is


here and now. Has there been a round table plenary yet involving all the


parties? At the outset, can I thank the honourable gentleman for his


support, and the cross-party nature of the approach that is shared on


this serious issue. We want to get an executive back into place,


delivering the Northern Ireland, following through on the


expectations of the public. I hope people understand that I'm not going


to provide a running narrative in regard to the talks, but what I can


say to him is that progress is being made, some significant issues still


need to be resolved but we are approaching this with good will. I'm


slightly concerned by the statement of the leader of one of the Northern


Ireland parties saying meetings had been cancelled. Have you received


any representation from the charitable sector are that they are


experiencing due to the budgetary impasse? He makes an important


point. The budget has not yet been set and some of the uncertainty


means we need to see the executive in place within the three-week


timescale, because there could be a problem with a range of issues in


Northern Ireland. The faith community, the voluntary sector, and


the business community have said The Government stands firmly behind


the institutions of the Belfast agreement and its successors. I have


regular discussions with the Government on a number of issues and


our immediate priority is working with the parties to resume the


devolved administration. I'm grateful for that answer. The sexual


state will know that at the time of the Good Friday Agreement nearly 19


years ago the European Union also played a role alongside the British


and Irish governments. -- the Secretary of State. Does he know of


any support to maintain the institutional frameworks


particularly the institutional corporation that has been some


potent over the last two years. I think they're very strong


relationship between the UK Government executive and the


Government in Ireland, we stand behind our commitments to the


Belfast agreement and its successors. What I picked up at EU


level is a strong level of support for the Good Friday Agreement and


Belfast agreement. We are determined to get the best possible deal for


Northern Ireland recognising our commitment. Turning to the Good


Friday Agreement will he ensure that the disgraceful treatment of my


constituent Cockrell Major Denis Hutchings and others will be


addressed as part of any further discussions on the part of legacy


issues. I know she has raised the issue of a constituent in a number


of occasions and I pay tribute to her on her work as a constituency


MP. She will understand I am unable to comment on individual cases but I


can say that the current system in dealing to a range of issues related


to legacy is not working for anyone, not working for service personnel


are victims and why it is important we move forward on the Stormont


House bodies decree that their system that I think everyone agrees


is needed. Does the Secretary of State not understand that Brexit


could have implications for the standing and can say for some of the


implementation bodies are created on the Strand to the agreement? Does he


appreciate that stranded to after-hours common implementation


that could help to answer some of the problems Brexit creates. --


offers a common implementation. There was a discussion to EU and


related issues and I think it is important to recognise institutional


framework we have under the Belfast agreement. That is something we


support. I would draw the honourable gentleman 's attention to the White


Paper that highlighted that support and highlighted are recognition of


it. The Secretary of State will attend a belligerent utterance of


the former Sinn Fein director of Unionist engagement who said the


Prime Minister can stack are hard or soft border with the sun doesn't


shine. Can I invite the Secretary of State to remind Martina Anderson and


all those in Sinn Fein that the Good Friday Agreement is based on the


majority will of the people and it has not changed. We do stand behind


the Belfast agreement and the consent contained within it but I


know the right honourable gentleman will affect for the Prime Minister


said yesterday. There are significant issues we recognise


which is why we have said we do not want to see a return to borders of


the past while we recognise a desire for the expansive free trade with


the EU and it is important that we continue that dialogue that


discourse and focus on the important issues. My honourable friend is


quite right to refer to the role of the Irish Government and I pray to


Secretary of State for the good working relationship he has


established a Minister Flanagan. May I thank him for the statements made


by his minister yesterday at yet another one of the many St Patrick's


Day celebrations when he not only paid tribute to the role of our core


guarantor to the Good Friday Agreement, the Good Friday


Agreement, but the ambassador who leaving us far Dublin. I have


enjoyed and appreciated working with them and we wish them well on his


new and perhaps challenging and exciting new role he has and wish


them well in that context. I think it is important to underline that


the strong relationship we have at the Irish Government on a range of


issues. Like to see that continue in the future and that engagement will


be continued with that spirit and mind. -- spirit in mind. With


permission, I would like to answer questions and four, seven, nine and


ten together. Nearly 65% of the Northern Ireland electorate voted


for continued devolved Government. I have seen a shared willingness of


the parties to engage in intense discussions acknowledging what is to


be at stake if an executive is the ball. I believe that with continued


positive intent we can secure a resolution that sees devolved


Government return. I welcome that and the economic success story that


is the Northern Irish economy over the past two years. Would my right


honourable friend agree that a key part of that success has been


effective stable power-sharing Government which is another reason


for all parties to resolve this as swiftly as possible? I do recognise


that my honourable friend is right to highlight some of the really


important successes we have seen at the Northern Ireland economy and I


would point again to the Labour Martic survey statistics -- market.


60,000 more jobs in 2010 underlining what has been achieved and can be


achieved with a strong executive in case. I wish my right honourable


friend well in the discussions currently taking place in Northern


Ireland. As he agree that whatever the issues need to be devolved


Government remains far and away the best option for Northern Ireland


within the UK? I strongly agree with what my honourable friend said. I


think that the public voted overwhelmingly and very clearly with


that increased turnout to see devolved Government back into place


delivering for Northern Ireland and that is what I'm determined to see


as well. Does my right honourable friend agree that the results of the


assembly election demonstrated the overwhelming majority of people in


Northern Ireland desire is strong and stable the bold Government? Yes


I do and it is that stability that is able to bring about further


positive change of Northern Ireland, releasing further foreign direct


investment coming and more jobs created or stop that is why I


strongly supported I do know that vision is shared by the parties.


Will he confirm that in all the Government the Government will


maintain full that support for the Belfast agreement? And particularly


that the position of Northern Ireland within the union will always


be determined by the principle of consent? A smack all the


discussions. -- all the discussions. We do and I'm also very clear that


the support we see of the institutions and structures. Can I


offer condolences to those who lost life this week particularly those


may the Irish coastguard who do so much good work in the north and


particularly in my constituency of Southdown. Brexit is a crucial


factor in the current political landscape in Northern Ireland and


should be part of the ongoing talks process. Can the Secretary of State


confirm that the issue of single stat this way you're not going back


to any borders is a feature of the stocks? -- of these talks. We


recognise the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and is economy


and geography and history and ensure these are properly taken into


account as we prepare for EU exit. We want to ensure those issues are


properly in the negotiations ahead to get the best possible deal for


Northern Ireland. What does the Secretary of State see as a great


stumbling blocks in the current process and how confident is either


a deal will be established by March 27? As I have indicated a tanker


deal can be achieved with goodwill and with a real sense of urgency


with the discussions ahead. There are issues that still need to be


overcome. I do not think it would be helpful to provide that running a


narrative that I have already said I think would not be constructive. I


would urge people to continue to engage and continue to be involved


in intensive talks because that is the way we will do it. Sammy Wilson.


Can I extend my condolences to my constituent Mr Gummer who was


murdered by pal acknowledges this week. -- Gilmore. -- paramilitaries.


Does he hold out much chance of success in these talks and if not


will he moved quickly to fill a budget gap left by Sinn Fein? I


think this remains doable and I think that is important message we


need to underline. Time is short and there are a range of issues that


still need to be discussed and agreed upon. I think it is that need


for our positive tent and all sides and that the best way. -- positive


intent. These are extremely matters affecting Northern Ireland whose


people might think it extremely and courteous if we do not have an


intent healing. -- healing. Will the Secretary of State agree that there


is some information that is so sensitive it could never going to


the public domain because it would put lives at risk? I do agree.


Although experience as a previous of state. -- with that experience as a


previous Secretary of State she knows national security remains our


primary responsibility of the United Kingdom Government and we would


continue to have that at the forefront of our minds. Minister


Hopkins. He can bask in his unpopularity. I


take it was not for me. It ensures cross-party communication and the


Government is committed to upholding the constitutional settlement as


outlined in the Belfast agreement and its successors. The priority


must be to persuade all the parties back into Government in Northern


Ireland to avoid the prospect of direct rule. Given the recent


instability and longer term is not worth having a discussion about


having a new form of Government involving our Government and


opposition? I thank him for his question that would not consider a


review at this moment in time. The focus is helping the parties come


back together and form an executive. As the talks emerge over the next


two weeks with the Minister of State agree that a likely consensus is


going to emerge around the Stormont House agreement and all of the


content spelling and that we should base progress and hopefully


agreement that rather than wish list which have no opportunity of


success? I think it would be appropriate to build around the


common consensus that has opened at the moment. There were already been


agreements around Stormont House and that will be the centrepoint our


talks of the moment. The Government will continue to use every possible


opportunity to promote Northern Ireland as a world-class to list


destination. -- tourists. Tourism in Northern Ireland generates ?764


million and attracts 4.5 million visitors a year. In light of Brexit


what steps will be taking a partnership to ensure that even


further tourist growth is delivered? There is commitment for industrial


strategy and engagement with all sectors at the moment in Northern


Ireland and also additional funding of ?600 million per year for the


great campaign. Doctor Alistair MacDonald. Does the Secretary of


State accept that tourism has the potential to make an even greater


contribution to the Northern Ireland economy and will he take steps to


ensure there are adequate resources invested in the Northern Irish


tourist board and tourism in Ireland to ensure that we marketed? Just


last week the Chancellor committed additional money to fund in Northern


Ireland. I would say that is the responsibility to get an executive


back. To every member of this household go and visit Northern


Ireland and take a weekend break an amazing place to visit. Sir Geoffrey


Donaldson. In the wake of the judgment. Number eight. This


Government is unstinting in admiration of their role our Armed


Forces played in Northern Ireland and the democracy that is secured.


The current process is addressed in the past is not working as my friend


the Secretary of State said earlier and new legal bodies will be in


place by fair balance in the system. S the honourable gentleman. In the


wake of the scrapping of the Iraq enquiries and the judgment today in


the case of Alexander Blackman is it not time that the Government


provided legal protection to the men and woman who serve this country on


the front line? This Government is never moves away its obligation to


care for those veterans and what I would say is I know you're very


passionate about looking after our Armed Forces personnel. If you would


like to meet and discuss this further I am more than willing to do


that. Questions to the Prime Minister.