Britain seeks to strengthen union
Britain seeks to strengthen union

British Secretary Owen Paterson has reasserted the British government’s claim on the Six Counties.

In a strongly pro-unionist speech, Paterson rounded on republicans by comparing their vision of a united Ireland to a form of communist dictatorship.

In his lecture to commemorate the late Ulster Unionist peer Leonard Steinberg, MrPaterson said the North should have a “full role on the main stage of UK politics”.

“I have never accepted that while it is perfectly legitimate for the lrish government to state its belief in a united ireland, it is somehow illegitimate for the United Kingdom government to express its belief in the United Kingdom,” he said.

He outlined a “normalisation” bill to end a range of government policies unique to the North.

“My aim would be to have them resolved by the time of the 2015 Stormont and Westminster elections,” he said. He also suggested a panel of historians could be set up “with a view to producing the authoritative history of the Troubles”.

He later floated the idea of a “historical memory documentary centre” modelled on a documentary centre in Salamanca, Spain as an apparent means of diverting pressure for inquiries into British state killings and collusion in the conflict.

In a speech given to the Policy Exchange think-tank, Paterson said some mechanism to allow “information sharing and recovery” could be a method of addressing unresolved controversies.

“Spanish legislation in 2007 included provision for a historical memory documentary centre in Salamanca with public access to archives and documents.

“Anything similar in Northern Ireland would clearly need involvement from all those involved in the events of the past 40 years. It could not be a one-sided exercise,” he said.

* Former DUP leader Ian Paisley has declared his support for the reunification of the island of Ireland -- under the British Crown.

Paisley, in his first speech since joining the ‘House of Lords’ in July, apparently did not see the humour in recent statements in the media inviting the Crown to retake the South of Ireland under its control with an apology for its condition.

The newly-ennobled Lord Bannside went on: “I am not going to throw such a bomb as that into the House today. But it’s a very good thought and, if we all came together with Her Majesty at our head, I think we would do very well.”

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