asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he will make a statement about the restoration of democratically accountable government to the 1½ million people of Northern Ireland.
The Government want to see established as quickly as possible a new system of government in Northern Ireland which will ensure that elected representatives are again responsible for the administration of the great majority of those functions and services which most closely affect the lives of the people who live there. The essential criterion for such a system is that it should be capable of attracting and retaining the support and confidence of a majority in both parts of the community. I am ready at any time to have discussions with the political parties about new political arrangements which might meet this criterion. Meanwhile, the arrangements for the government of Northern Ireland are those which Parliament has approved.