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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in encouraging Sinn Fein to engage in the policing process in Northern Ireland. (92709)

As the agreement reached in St. Andrews last week made clear, we want to see the support for policing and the rule of law extend to every part of the community. This includes endorsing fully the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the criminal justice system, actively encouraging everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the PSNI in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the policing and criminal justice institutions, including the Policing Board. The political parties of Northern Ireland—including Sinn Fein—have until 10 November 2006 to confirm their endorsement of the St. Andrews agreement. Based on intensive negotiations at St. Andrews, we believe that all parties should be able to endorse it and to implement it in good faith, building on the trust and confidence necessary for a stable and lasting settlement.