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Assembly Elections

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the political impact of the cancellation of the Assembly elections on 29 May 2003. [113814]

The decision to postpone the elections was not taken lightly. However, we judged that, in the absence of clarity on an end to paramilitary activity as set out in paragraph 13 of the Joint Declaration, the trust and confidence did not exist to permit the restoration of functioning institutions. If we had had elections, we would not have had Government under the Agreement. The Government are now focused on working hard to bring about the restoration of the necessary trust and confidence, with a view to holding elections in the autumn.