Sir George asks about Northern Ireland at Prime Minsters Questions
30 Jun 1999
Sir George Young (North–West Hampshire): Of course we understand why the Prime Minister is in Northern Ireland. The whole House hopes that the discussions that are under way can be brought to a successful conclusion and that a devolved Assembly can be established for Northern Ireland. Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that the sole remaining block to progress has been and still is the failure of the terrorist organisations to give up their illegally owned weapons?
The Deputy Prime Minister: I welcome the right hon. Gentleman to his role of deputising for the Leader of the Opposition, and I wish him well. He raises an important issue, which is at the heart of the present discussions. Clearly, agreement will have to be reached on that matter. All parties are addressing themselves to that, and the House will wish them well in achieving a successful agreement.

Sir George Young: The House will welcome that response, but is it not the case that, for the terrorists on both sides and their political allies, it has been all take and no give? Have not the British Government, the Irish Government and the constitutional parties all honoured their side of the agreement? So does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the way the other parties can demonstrate their commitment to peace and democracy is to hand over the guns and the bombs?
The Deputy Prime Minister: The Prime Minister has made clear exactly how he feels on these matters, and he is in the middle of the negotiations, with the Irish Prime Minister. It would be far better for peace in the north of Ireland if the negotiations took place over there, and were not made more difficult by people in this place making remarks of the type that the right hon. Gentleman is making.
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