‘Villiers must clarify details of Stormont House Agreement’ – Ritchie

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Thursday, January 8th, 2015
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has called on the British government to provide more clarification on the details and implementation plan for the Stormont House Agreement. Speaking following the statement in the House of Commons from the Secretary of State Ritchie stated, “We remain disappointed that this deal could have gone much further and in many ways represents a step back from where we were during the Haass process. “This cannot be allowed to act as a stop-gap until the next crisis point is reached and I have real concerns that by leaving certain issues unresolved we are avoiding the big decisions that need to be made. “In particular the agreement is unclear in parts as to where responsibility lies for the implementation of the legislation that will underpin the stated objectives. “The Secretary of State revealed that she was uncertain that corporation tax could be completed by the election and there are also question marks over the process for legislating on parades. “The details of any legislation will have to be subject to meaningful scrutiny and we should not feel obligated to rush through legislation that is not adequate. “I also raised my concern with the Secretary of State that victims will not have access to the information that they seek given the questions that remain over the system for inquests. “This point was made directly to MPs by a victims group, including the Ballymurphy Massacre families, when they visited Westminster last month and it would be a further dereliction of the UK government’s moral duty if these people’s quest for justice continues to be undermined. Ritchie added, “The Secretary of State has promised to make this a priority and I fully intend to hold her to that commitment.”
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