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Pat Finucane

Volume 512: debated on Wednesday 30 June 2010

I am aware of the previous Government’s commitments and that there has been a long-running exchange between the previous Government and the Finucane family on the question of an inquiry.

Before I explain how I propose to approach this question, I want to hear the views of the Finucane family for myself. I have written to the family to invite them to meet me.

I welcome the Secretary of State to his position and thank him for that answer. Earlier, he indicated once again that there would be no more open-ended inquiries, but when the Prime Minister responded to the Saville report, he said both that and

“but of course we should look at each case on its merits.”—[Official Report, 15 June 2010; Vol. 511, c. 744.]

Although I thank the Secretary of State for his answer, I am not sure—and I wonder whether the family of Pat Finucane are sure—which of those positions holds true for that case.

As the hon. Lady knows, the issue was the subject of considerable discussion between the Finucane family and the previous Secretary of State. I think that today it is appropriate for me to talk to the family first rather than to give a black-and-white answer on how we are going to take this forward.

As the Secretary of State will know, there is no bar to an inquiry on this issue, except that the family are looking for some kind of special provision. If he grants that, the danger is that he will create a hierarchy of victims, and that thousands of people who have not had justice will look on and wonder why they are not getting the same justice.

I am grateful for that, and the right hon. Gentleman makes a valid point. I repeat my earlier reply—that, at this stage, the first thing that I should do is to go and talk to the family—but I also repeat that it is our policy not to have any more costly and open-ended inquiries.