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The Union

Volume 679: debated on Wednesday 2 September 2020

What steps the Government are taking to strengthen the Union between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. (905441)

The UK Government will never be neutral in expressing our unequivocal support for the Union. We are committed to strengthening the link between our four great nations, levelling up the whole country. That is why the Prime Minister has created a Cabinet coimittee on Union policy implementation. Our commitment to Northern Ireland is demonstrated in the £2.2 billion we have provided to help fight coronavirus, including an extra £300 million announced at the summer economic update.

May I begin by welcoming today’s news on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland? Carshalton and Wallington residents have noticed that next year will be the centenary of the creation of Northern Ireland, so what plans does the Northern Ireland Office have to commemorate the United Kingdom as we know it today?

I agree with my hon. Friend on both points. This centenary represents a significant national anniversary. In the new decade, new approach deal, the Government recognised that the centenary provided an opportunity to reflect on the past as well as to build for the future in Northern Ireland across the UK and internationally. We are committed to facilitating national recognition and international awareness of the centenary. On his recent visit to Northern Ireland, the Prime Minister announced the establishment of a centenary forum and a centenary historical advisory panel. This approach will offer us the opportunity to work with a broad spectrum of people to deliver an ambitious and exciting programme of events to mark this important national anniversary. Further details about the centenary programme will be set out in the autumn.