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Owen Paterson enquires about negotiations with Sinn Fein

Owen_paterson Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, asks about the negotiations in the lead up to establishing the new NI Executive but Shaun Woodward starts talking about 42 days instead.

Owen Paterson: "There has been widespread speculation about the detail of the talks and the agreement leading up to the establishment of the new Executive. What was the deal and does it have any budget implications?"

Shaun Woodward: "As always, the hon. Gentleman gets excited about his questions, but I am going to have to disappoint him. There was no deal and therefore there are no financial implications."

Owen Paterson: "I thought that the Ulster White was a rare pig, now sadly extinct. I did not realise that it had been reincarnated in flying form. We know that there were tense and difficult negotiations in Downing street with the Prime Minister. There was clearly an agreement, because the Executive was reformed, which was good news. The Secretary of State has already mentioned the figure of £6 million, which was announced by the president of Sinn Fein rather than the Secretary of State. Devolution of criminal justice and policing has been mentioned, as have water rates, the sale of military sites and education. Why will not the Secretary of State tell us what the deal was?"

Shaun Woodward: "The short answer is that there was no deal. The hon. Gentleman mentions the £6 million for the Irish Language Broadcasting Fund. This may have escaped him, but I do not think that Sinn Fein took its places to vote on the matter of 42 days last week. The hon. Gentleman should be very careful, because he is impugning the reputation of a number of Members from Northern Ireland who are highly principled on the matter of counter-terrorism. I suggest that before he gives lectures to Members of the DUP, he should pay attention to one of the most principled parties in the House when it comes to the business of building a robust framework of counter-terrorism legislation."

More from Hansard here.


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