Northern Ireland (Location of Victims' Remains) Bill — 10 May 1999
Order for Second Reading read.
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
Before commenting on the Bill, I wish to acknowledge the reason why the right hon. Member for Bracknell (Mr. MacKay) is not on the Opposition Front Bench as shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman is attending his father's funeral. I am sure that the entire House would wish to echo me in offering condolences to him and his family.
It is right to begin by acknowledging the prolonged suffering that has been endured by the families of "The Disappeared". The families and friends of "The Disappeared", as they have become known, have suffered the loss of those they loved and have had to endure many years of agonising uncertainty of not knowing what happened to their loved ones and the pain of not being able to lay their bodies to rest. This is a basic human right.
I have met representatives of a number of these families on several occasions, most recently today, and I have been deeply moved by their stories and by the remarkable courage that they have shown in the face of such adversity. More than anything else, it is their suffering which the Bill seeks to address.
The Bill's overriding purpose is to ensure that the remains of these victims can be located and that, for the sake of these victims and their families, funerals can finally take place.
Dr. Norman A. Godman (Greenock and Inverclyde):
I support the Bill in principle. However, the Bill makes information and evidence inadmissible in criminal proceedings. I can well understand why that is so. The Bill also places restrictions on the forensic testing of human remains. What are those restrictions?
Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time:--
The House divided: Ayes 289, Noes 10.
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (Aye)||Minority (No)||Both||Turnout|
|Con||0||8 (+1 tell)||0||5.6%|
|Lab||273 (+2 tell)||0||0||66.3%|
|UUP||0||1 (+1 tell)||0||20.0%|