§ Lord Laird
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether their decision not to mark in the year 2001 the bicentenary of the creation of the United Kingdom is consistent with the remarks of the Prime Minister reported in the Belfast Telegraph of 21 May 1998 that "I am proud to speak to you as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. I value that Union". [HL1875]
§ The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton)
The Government fully recognise the historical significance for the United Kingdom of the 1801 Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland. While there are no plans at present for any formal commemoration of its 200th anniversary, the event will not pass without comment from the Government since we value Northern Ireland's place within the United Kingdom. That position is entirely consistent with the views expressed by the Prime Minister at the University of Ulster in Coleraine on 20 May 1998.