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Security Situation

Volume 655: debated on Wednesday 6 March 2019

The threat from dissident republican terrorism continues to be severe in Northern Ireland. This Government’s first priority is to keep people safe and secure. Vigilance against this continuing threat is essential, and we remain determined to ensure that terrorism never succeeds.

Can my right hon. Friend shed light on reports in The Times that my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary plans to bring forward a limit on the prosecution of veterans in the Queen’s Speech? As my right hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip (Boris Johnson) argued in The Daily Telegraph, we must stop gesture politics and start delivering natural justice.

My hon. Friend should not believe everything he reads in the newspaper. I assure him that I am working closely with the Defence Secretary, the Attorney General and Members on both sides of the House to ensure we can deliver a new system that works for the people of Northern Ireland, that works for the victims of terrorism and, very importantly, that works for our veterans and retired police officers.

The way to guarantee that the European arrest warrant continues in three weeks’ time is to vote for the deal.

There has been a bomb attack in Londonderry; there have been various shootings across Northern Ireland; and we had three parcel bombs at Heathrow airport, London City airport and Waterloo station yesterday originating from the Republic of Ireland—at least the postage did. What discussions has the Secretary of State had with her equivalent in the Republic of Ireland to address these issues, which clearly show that the Republic of Ireland is a haven for terrorists?

We discussed the matters of cross-border security and east-west relations at both British-Irish Intergovernmental Conferences in the past 12 months. Close work between the Garda and the Police Service of Northern Ireland is imperative to ensuring the safety of us all.

Would the Secretary of State care to take the opportunity from the Dispatch Box to thank my constituent Alastair Hamilton, the soon to be former head of Invest Northern Ireland, for the 10 years of great service he has given to Northern Ireland in attracting the highest levels of inward investment our country has ever seen?

I am sure the hon. Gentleman is referring to the contribution that investment has made to the security of Northern Ireland, and he will notice that I have my Invest NI pen with me.

The idea that the European arrest warrant should be left to the lottery of whether the Prime Minister gets her legislation through simply cannot be in the interests of the people of this country. Will the Secretary of State now get a grip, talk to the Prime Minister and insist that we get the European arrest warrant sorted, irrespective of the outcomes in this House next week?

I want to see access to the European arrest warrant, or a similar instrument, continue into the future. As a Minister in the Home Office, I worked very hard to ensure that we have access to the European arrest warrant as a United Kingdom, and I want to see it continue, but I gently remind the hon. Gentleman that there is a mechanism to ensure all these matters continue, and that is the withdrawal agreement—that means voting for the deal. [Interruption.]

Order. Before I call the hon. Member for Rochdale (Tony Lloyd) to ask his second question, let me say that a lot of noisy private conversations are taking place, including on the Government Benches, where I am sure Members wish to listen to their illustrious Secretary of State as she replies to the inquiries put to her.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Secretary of State knows that the security situation also depends on trust. When David Cameron was Prime Minister, he recognised the special circumstances of the Pat Finucane case and established an independent inquiry into those circumstances. The Supreme Court decided last week that that was a flawed process. What remedy does the Secretary of State propose, unless it is indeed a second public inquiry?

The judgment from the Supreme Court on the Pat Finucane case came out last week. It is a complicated matter, because although the judgment says that the article 2 obligations on the Government have not been thoroughly fulfilled, it does not suggest the next stage forward. I am looking carefully at the judgment and considering the next steps.