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Saville Inquiry

Volume 515: debated on Wednesday 15 September 2010

The reaction to the report of the Saville inquiry and to the Prime Minister’s statement to this House on 15 June has been overwhelmingly positive. Since publication, I have also met the families of those killed. I have received no formal representations in relation to the inquiry’s report, other than routine correspondence.

Yesterday, the Secretary of State once again informed the House that he will be meeting the families who lost their loved ones in Ballymurphy in August 1971. Will he assure the House that the issues that cannot be explored by the Historical Enquiries Team will be resolved by a process that is satisfactory to the families?

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. I think that she should understand the sensitivities of these historical cases. Where I have given a commitment—I have a meeting planned with the families—it is appropriate that I talk to the families before I comment further.

Whatever mechanism we adopt to deal with the past, if we adopt any at all, surely it must be consistent. Does the Secretary of State agree that, whereas the Saville report dealt purely with the activities of the troops, soldiers and other activists on the day, the Billy Wright inquiry, which the media attended, seemed to deal with issues before and after the events of the day? We need a consistent approach to try to bring some closure.

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right, and that is why we have launched a process of talking to local politicians and local groups to work out a way forward on how we handle the past. It was clear from the submissions to Eames-Bradley that there is absolutely no consensus, but the hon. Gentleman is right that we must have a process that is consistent. We will be working on that over the coming months.