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Dr. Reid: I hope I have helped to correct the idea that we are talking about a single category of people on the run for whom there will be an amnesty. I have explained the complications, and I will not stretch your indulgence by doing so again, Mr. Speaker.
The hon. Gentleman may want to reflect on his second point. I know that it was sincere and that he thought he was making it on behalf of those who have been involved in the Army, but I am not sure that the leadership and rank and file of the armed forces want to be thought of as the equivalent of terrorists.
As it happens, I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman's view of the Parades Commission, although I know that there have been many contentious decisions. Indeed, every decision is contentious, since whether the commission decides that a parade should go ahead, or should be stopped or should be rerouted, one side or the other will claim that it is biased. I am eternally grateful that it has shown the endurance to continue to do that, but we are prepared to review its workings. That was encompassed in the statement at Weston Park, and I am pleased to confirm that it is still the case.
Mr. Kevin McNamara (Hull, North): Does my right hon. Friend agree that the most prominent name on the list that he gave was the last, that of my hon. Friend the Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume)? Over the years, he showed that the democratic way was the correct way, and also showed tremendous courage, for which he was bitterly criticised in the House, in entering into talks with Gerry Adams. The Hume-Adams talks led to a great furore, and to the work done by the former Taoiseach Mr. Reynolds and the former Prime Minister Mr. Major.
Can my right hon. Friend tell us when we can expect to see the legislation that is likely to be forthcoming on the police and other matters? Will he also include in his accolade members of the Republican movement who,
Dr. Reid: As I think my hon. Friend will have heard, among those whom I thanked were the leadership of the republican movement. He will forgive me, however, ifalthough I have the utmost admiration for my friend and colleague of many years the hon. Member for Foyle (Mr. Hume)I do not produce a hierarchy of tributes. In that spirit, we should remember that while the optimism derived from yesterday's events can be a great driving force for the future, euphoria is often the mother and father of disillusionment later. We should keep our feet on the ground.
It is true that the hon. Member for Foyle made an outstanding contribution, as did many others. It takes two to tango; with a complicated dance such as Northern Ireland, it takes a lot more than two to get through it. While we have had the satisfaction of saying that what happened yesterday was historic, we should have not a sense of euphoria but as a sense of dynamism and optimism to tackle what are realistically some very hard challenges ahead.
Mr. Michael Mates (East Hampshire): Does the Secretary of State recall the promise that the Prime Minister made to the people of Northern Ireland in the referendum campaign that he would personally ensure that there was parallel movement on all aspects of the Good Friday agreement? While in no way wanting to belittle what happened yesterday, is it not a fact that this is the first move that the IRA has made, and that it has taken nearly two and a half years to make it? Has the right hon. Gentleman had any assurances either from General de Chastelain or from any of the people to whom he has been talking who represent the republican movement that this is not a one-off gesture, but part of a continuing process of decommissioning? If he has not had that assurance and he has given the quid pro quo today in his various announcements, we will shortly be back in exactly the muddle that has held us up for so many months.
Dr. Reid: The hon. Gentleman, or the right hon. Gentleman[Interruption.] Not yet? That is one of the many aspects of the process that are long overdue. The hon. Gentleman, who has tremendous expertise in these matters, will know that all of us would have wanted such a step to be taken earlier. I do not think that that should allow us to diminish it. All aspects of the Belfast agreement have now been started. Very few of them have been completed; all of them are in the process of organic development. We should allow ourselves a degree of satisfaction that we can now genuinely say that the insurmountable hurdle that was envisaged has begun to be overcome.
It is fair to say that, although to the House it may not have been a huge deal, to the republican movement it was a huge deal to go on a prolonged ceasefire. We should recognise that. We each carry our own history. The opening of the dumps was a hugely significant move in the republican movement's terms, too. Now that the actual decommissioning has begun, it has added a new dynamic.
Mr. George Howarth (Knowsley, North and Sefton, East): I, too, urge my right hon. Friend not to be too modest. The House will know that the painstaking work that he, his ministerial colleagues and officials have put in over the past few months in bringing about the developments of the past few days have been highly significant and are much appreciated in the House and elsewhere.
May I ask my right hon. Friend to consider supporting the call of my hon. Friend the Member for South Down (Mr. McGrady) and of Sir Reg Empey this morning in an interview that I saw him giving, for the Democratic Unionist partyI hope that it takes this in the friendly spirit in which it is intendedto review its one-foot-in, one-foot-out approach to the institutions? Not only would it bring considerable political weight to the process, but, as its Ministers have already demonstrated, it would bring to the Executive particular talents which are widely admired and would be much appreciated.
Dr. Reid: My hon. Friend's contribution carries particular credibility as he was involved in many of the prolonged discussions and made a valuable contribution as a Minister. He is right to mention the officials at the Northern Ireland Office. They are not everyone's cup of tea; indeed, in Northern Ireland they are not anyone's cup of tea because everyone is suspicious that they are on the other side. However, I can truly sayeven with the fierce competition of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development, who was proudly acclaiming her officials earlierthat I would put mine up against anyone. They are second to none. They are deeply committed to the people of Northern Ireland in trying to ensure that they have a decent, civilised, modern democratic society there.
I wish that the DUP were fully in the process. I think that it represents a very important electorate in Northern Ireland and very important strands of thinking. I think that Democratic Unionist Members make a contribution, certainly when they meet me. Although it is not always a contribution that entirely accords with my own view, it is one that I think we cannot forget. I wish that, like everyone else, they were part of this agreement. I believe that the more pillars of Northern Ireland we build this on, the better it will be. I have no hesitation in saying that, in terms of the individual contributions they can make, they are every bit as able as every other party. There are also some outstanding characters among them, one of whom I believe may be trying to catch the eye of the occupant of the Chair.
Today, however, the Secretary of State has produced a paper that is absolutely transparentthere are no hidey- holes in this statement. We are told that there will be new legislation, even before the new Police Board has even had the decency of being allowed to have a meeting. The right hon. Gentleman has announced that there will be new legislation in the House, although a former Secretary of State told us that the legislation would not be changed because it reflected Patten, and that that was the way that it was going to remain.
The statement also referred to outstanding prosecutions. I do not believe that any Unionist wants any member of the Army to be dealt with as a terrorist but I believe that they deserve to be taken into full consideration when those matters are under consideration. I stand up for the rights of the RUC men and those who are concerned in that matter.
There is another matter: all this dismantling of security. Work is starting today on Sturgan mountain and Camlough mountain, in South Armagh. Work will start tomorrow in Newtownhamilton. Work will be starting to demolish the Magherafelt Army base. All that is transparent; we can see everything that is being done. We cannot, however, see anything that has been done by the IRA, and we are not going to see it. We therefore have a right to be sceptical about it.
On what the hon. Member for South Down (Mr. McGrady) said, there is no coalition between the DUP and IRA-Sinn Fein. There never will be such a coalition, and he very well knows that. For him to come to the House and try to tell people that the DUP is in coalition with IRA-Sinn Fein is utter, absolute rubbish.