Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden): To inform the debate on access to the House, will the Leader of the House make available the information about the terrorist activities of the Members concerned? At least one of them, Martin McGuinness, was to my personal knowledge the commandant of the IRA in Londonderry. I interviewed him when he was in that capacity and, during the interview, he told me that he had had a dozen Catholic informers killed. If he has, indeed, put that bloody past behind him and now believes that constitutional change should come about only by operating within the constitution, is not the appropriate test that he takes the Oath?
Mr. Cook: Martin McGuinness is, at present, the Minister of Education in the Northern Ireland Assembly. He plays a full part in the government of Northern Ireland and in the administration of the education system there. I think that it is wrong for us to say that that is all right for the people of Northern Ireland but that we will not allow him anywhere within the precincts of Westminster. As to what may or may not have been his past or the past of any of the others, we shall not get peace or make progress on the peace process if we constantly start from the very beginning and do not accept that some of these people have played a part in achieving a period of peace and stability in Northern Ireland.
13 December 2001 col 1017