James Sunderland calls for positive engagement with the Government’s emerging proposals to help create a strategic environment in Northern Ireland whereby truth, reconciliation and alternative forms of dispute resolution can flourish, for the benefit of future peace and stability.
I have had the privilege of working closely alongside the Secretary of State on legacy for much of the past six months, and I believe he is on to something. This is difficult work and it involves compromise, so I am slightly baffled by some of the negativity that I have encountered, both today and previously, with regard to the statute. I think that we in Westminster have a responsibility to get behind my right hon. Friend. Does he agree that his emerging statute will not just unpick and end this unpalatable cycle of vexatious behaviour, but help to create a strategic environment in Northern Ireland whereby truth, reconciliation and alternative forms of dispute resolution can flourish, for the benefit of future peace and stability?
I thank my hon. Friend for his comments and the experience that he has shared with our Department over the last period. He has huge experience of serving in the armed forces and in Northern Ireland, and of the reality on the ground. Our intention is absolutely as he outlined. He is absolutely right that the focus has to be to find a way, ultimately, to ensure that families in Northern Ireland—those families who want it—can get to the truth and that, as a wider society in Northern Ireland, we can share and understand what happened and find a way to look forward to the future positively.