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."
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