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MS4: Northern Ireland
#1
Mme. Speaker,

I rise today to update the House on discussions with Northern Ireland leaders.

I have instructed my Private Secretary to invite the leaders of the DUP and the UUP to Downing Street. That meeting will happen tomorrow. I will be leading discussions with Northern Ireland leaders on the peace process for the foreseeable future.

Let me also say this about my dear friend, the Rt. Hon. Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: he retains my full confidence. And let me say this to any person who will use this opportunity to vilify him for his past or any other person who uses drugs for that matter - they are people first. I am disappointed to learn of the revelations in The Express today. But I am not disappointed in their content; I am disappointed that instead of choosing compassion for a person who made a mistake in their past, there was a need to "expose" him and attempt to take the moral high ground on drug use.

Let me say additionally that I have no doubt we all agree that moral posturing should not interfere with saving lives and ending the violence. Now is not the time to walk away from the table because someone made a mistake in their past. I look forward to fruitful discussions with the Leaders of the DUP and UUP tomorrow. And, on the matter creating buzz around this place today, my Rt. Hon. Friend has said he will fully comply with the Scotland Yard investigation; and I have no doubt my friend will accept whatever happens next in that process.

Lives are at stake with the never-ending violence in Northern Ireland. To divert now from the goal of peace is a mistake. I look forward to working with all Members in this House and the people of Northern Ireland to secure that goal.
Rt. Hon. Agnes Hamstead
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1992 - Present)
Labour | Copeland (1987 - Present)
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#2
Madame Speaker,

Does the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister think that the leaders of the DUP and the UUP will share her view that compassion should override reason where drug use is concerned? Does she believe that the leaders of the DUP and the UUP will be prepared to continue to work with a man whom they will find, I do not doubt, morally compromised?
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R I C H A R D • D E • V I L L I E R S
C O N S E R V A T I V E
for
G R A N T H A M

Shadow SoS for Regions, Nations, & Devolution | Constitutional Affairs

CORNERSTONE GROUP
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#3
Mme. Speaker,

As I said, moral posturing should not interfere with saving lives and ending the violence. And, as I said, I will be meeting with leaders from the DUP and UUP at Downing Street. As I also said, I will be overseeing the peace process for the foreseeable future. So quite frankly, the question is moot because they will be dealing with me.

And, let me say to the gentleman, who dances around making moral commentary but implies it with his comments that "reason" should override my comments, that he has once again shown his attitude is severely outdated. For him to imply, as subtle as it was, that a mistake from years ago disqualifies my Rt. Hon. Friend from being an able Minister -something he has demonstrated that he is and continues to demonstrate - is appalling. And, if the Member Opposite truly has the courage to make judgements like that, he ought to do so outside this House where he will find defamation protection lacking. I suspect that he won't have the courage to do so because he knows his comments are wholly beyond the pale.
Rt. Hon. Agnes Hamstead
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1992 - Present)
Labour | Copeland (1987 - Present)
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#4
Madame Speaker,

Forgive me, I did not realize that a man could take ecstasy and smoke cannabis by mistake. But, alas, I have very little experience with the stuff so the House will, I am sure, forgive my lack of knowledge surrounding the potential for its accidental use.

Why is the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister handling negotiations with the DUP and UUP for the foreseeable future if her Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has, as she says, her "full confidence" after these shocking and disappointing revelations and if "saving lives and ending violence" should not be "interfered" with by "moral posturing?" And how can a man who has, admittedly, committed a very serious crime really continue to hold the Prime Minister's "full confidence" to perform ably in his job and be a strong example of moral character to the nation? Is the Prime Minister's judge of character really so weak as this?
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R I C H A R D • D E • V I L L I E R S
C O N S E R V A T I V E
for
G R A N T H A M

Shadow SoS for Regions, Nations, & Devolution | Constitutional Affairs

CORNERSTONE GROUP
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#5
Mme. Speaker,

I suggest the Member tread very carefully in his future comments. And the House would spend all day on forgiveness if we are to forgive all the things the Member opposite lacks knowledge in. But, of course, now that he's caught the scent of faux outrage and maybe the chance to drag his pathetic party out of third place in the polls with scandal mongering, the Official Opposition is finally doing its job. It's about time, Mme. Speaker. It's just a damn shame they've decided to politicise peace in Northern Ireland, and they've sent out the Member for 1775 to do so.

Now then, onto the questions where the Member almost finds some substance. I will handle these discussions, Mme. Speaker, because as the Leader of Her Majesty's Government, it is right that at times of difficulty in these conversations, the Leader of said government is involved. If I wasn't, I have no doubt the Gentleman would complain that I'm not doing enough. But let me assure the Member that I will say to the DUP and UUP privately what I've said here publicly: the Northern Ireland Secretary has done - and will continue to do a great job. In the meantime, if the Member Opposite wants to engage constructively on this issue and offer solutions to bring peace to Northern Ireland, I'm all ears. But he seems quite incapable of doing so, instead spending his time feigning faux outrage. If he wants to play political games while lives are at stake, well, Mme. Speaker, he'll find himself alone in that pursuit.
Rt. Hon. Agnes Hamstead
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1992 - Present)
Labour | Copeland (1987 - Present)
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#6
Madame Speaker,

Could the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister inform the House what the meeting with the DUP and UUP is about?
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R I C H A R D • D E • V I L L I E R S
C O N S E R V A T I V E
for
G R A N T H A M

Shadow SoS for Regions, Nations, & Devolution | Constitutional Affairs

CORNERSTONE GROUP
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#7
Mme. Speaker,

The meeting will focus on progress made to date, sticking points in the talks and mapping a path forward. I expect, given press reports, that the DUP and UUP will have concerns regarding the story in The Express, and I will use the opportunity to assure them that, in the interim and until the Scotland Yard investigation is complete, this file will be handled by me.
Rt. Hon. Agnes Hamstead
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1992 - Present)
Labour | Copeland (1987 - Present)
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#8
Madam Speaker, and what about the Government's bill on Devolution? Scotland. Wales. What about Northern Ireland?
Philippa "Pippa" Mountjoy MP
Conservative MP for Woking (1970 - Present)
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#9
Mme. Speaker,

I'm afraid I can't seem to sort out what the Member is trying to get at. We're talking about securing peace in Northern Ireland. If her question is in regards to devolution, she should present herself at Questions to the Secretary of State for Devolution and Constitutional Affairs, and ask her question there.
Rt. Hon. Agnes Hamstead
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1992 - Present)
Labour | Copeland (1987 - Present)
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#10
Madame Speaker,

The Rt. Hon. Prime Minister stated hat "in times of difficulty" she would have to take over the negotiations with the DUP and the UUP and that this was, indeed, a time of difficulty. What is the present difficulty to which she refers?
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R I C H A R D • D E • V I L L I E R S
C O N S E R V A T I V E
for
G R A N T H A M

Shadow SoS for Regions, Nations, & Devolution | Constitutional Affairs

CORNERSTONE GROUP
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#11
Mme. Speaker,

As the Member should know from the BBC, the DUP and UUP felt it necessary to hold emergency meetings together. As such, I felt it necessary to meet with both. That meeting is ongoing, Mme. Speaker, and it is a discussion that will continue.
Rt. Hon. Agnes Hamstead
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1992 - Present)
Labour | Copeland (1987 - Present)
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#12
Mme. Speaker,

Will it be the policy of this Government that every time things get "difficult" that the Prime Minister will step in and carry certain portfolio briefs without officially replacing the ministers formerly in charge of those portfolios?
Philip Porter
MP for Orkney and Shetlands (1983-Present)
Leader of the Liberal Democrats (1992-Present)
Liberal Democrats Spokesman for the Treasury (1992)



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#13
Mme. Speaker,

Given that I have addressed this question, I would hope in future the Leader of the Liberal Democrats would put peace before politics. I refer him to my comments some moments ago.
Rt. Hon. Agnes Hamstead
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1992 - Present)
Labour | Copeland (1987 - Present)
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