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Security Situation

Volume 633: debated on Wednesday 20 December 2017

The threat from Northern Ireland-related terrorism continues to be severe within Northern Ireland, meaning an attack is highly likely. This Government will always give the fullest possible support to the brave men and women of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and MI5. We remain fully committed to keeping people safe and secure, and to ensuring that terrorism never succeeds.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, although much of our time and focus are spent on international terrorism threats, it is vital that we do not lose sight of the very real and continuing threat from dissidents in Northern Ireland? In that context, will he commend the ongoing work of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in disrupting their activities?

I absolutely will. There have been five confirmed national security attacks so far in 2017, and a small number of dissident republican terrorist groupings continue their campaign of violence. The threat is suppressed by the brave efforts of the PSNI and others, and by the strategic approach that we pursue. The PSNI and others who work to keep people safe have our full support for the public service they give.

The Secretary of State will be aware that a significant proportion of the resources available to the Police Service of Northern Ireland to fight terrorism has to go towards investigating legacy cases. Will he give a commitment that any money used for legacy cases will be replaced to ensure that the PSNI has the resources it needs to combat the existing terrorist threat?

The right hon. Gentleman may know that we have committed specific funds—an extra £32 million a year over the five-year spending review period—to deal with Northern Ireland-related terrorism. His point about legacy is valid and important, which is why we both want to see the Stormont House bodies take forward a new approach to legacy. That is what I want to see in the new year.

My right hon. Friend will be well aware of the potential security implications of the Bombardier-Boeing dispute. In their telephone conversation yesterday, was the Prime Minister able to raise her concerns with the President directly?

There have been various discussions with the US and Canadian authorities, and with Bombardier itself, in relation to the continuing dispute. Obviously, we see this as unjustified and unwarranted. We await the latest determination, but we will continue to challenge this and to underline our key focus and endeavour on seeing that those important jobs in Belfast are protected.

Does the Secretary of State expect still to have access to the European arrest warrant to bring back criminals and terrorists who reside in the Irish Republic and commit acts in Northern Ireland?

The right hon. Gentleman, with his experience, will know about the cross-border work. I commend the work of the PSNI and the Garda Siochana in delivering security on the island of Ireland. Their very close co-operation points to a number of EU-related structures, which is why, knowing the significance and importance of deepening that relationship into the future, we want to see a new treaty established that is able to respond and address that co-operation.