§ Rev. Ian Paisley (Antrim, North)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the Dublin summit and its effect on Northern Ireland's position as an integral part of the United Kingdom.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister, together with three senior Cabinet colleagues, went to Dublin for an important meeting. After that meeting, it was announced that it was "historic, important and constructive". When my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) asked the Northern Ireland Office today for a copy of the communiqué which was issued, he was told that it was not available to Members of the House of Commons, and was referred to the Irish Times.
The Irish Times report certainly does not help my conception of this conference, because it states:All Ireland plan may follow talks at Dublin Summit".That does not help the situation in Northern Ireland. There is a sense of outrage and betrayal in Northern Ireland with regard to this matter. Surely this House should have been given the opportunity today of hearing what happened at that conference, because there is a conflict between what 797 the Prime Minister said at her press conference and what the Premier of the Irish Republic said at his. The communiqué refers toa wide range of joint studieswhich will be launched, and which will includenew institutional structures, citizenship rights, security matters, economic co-operation and measures to encourage mutual understanding".On numerous occasions, the right hon. Lady and her colleagues have assured the people of Northern Ireland, through their elected representatives in the House, that new institutions for Northern Ireland are a matter solely for the Government and Parliament of the United Kingdom and the people of Northern Ireland. But it is now clear from this communiqué that the Republic will have a direct and increasing involvement in these matters. Surely the House should have an opportunity to discuss the issue.
The House should jog its memory and remember that if an attempt is made to coerce the majority of the people of Northern Ireland — who again and again have expressed their democratic wishes at elections set up by the House—it will again have to learn that it cannot do so. This matter should be fully ventilated in the House.
The only forum that we in Northern Ireland have is this House, even though the people of the Province are under-represented in it. I feel that the matter should come before the House. The Government have fallen down badly by making statements at press conferences while at the same time not giving the elected representatives of the people the opportunity to discuss this matter.
The hon. Gentleman gave me notice before noon that he would seek leave to move the Adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the Dublin summit and its effect on Northern Ireland's position as an integral part of the United Kingdom.The House knows, and I repeat it for the record, that I do not decide whether this matter shall be debated. All that I can decide is whether there shall be a three-hour emergency debate either tonight or tomorrow night. That is the limit of the powers that the House has given to me in this regard. The House has also instructed me to give no reasons for my decision when I make my ruling.
I have given careful consideration to what the hon. Gentleman has said, but I have to rule that his submission does not fall within the provisions of the Standing Order, and therefore I cannot submit his application to the House.