NORTHERN IRELAND – DOCUMENT THEFT – 13 November 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: The hon. Gentleman [Rev. Ian Paisley] raises an important point and I wonder whether he can throw some light on a point that has puzzled me since the first break-in at Castlereagh? Surely sensitive documents should be cleared from desks and locked in safes, whether in police headquarters or a Minister's office? Then, even if those places were infiltrated, the documents would have been put away safely at the end of the day.

[Rev. Ian Paisley: The people who had access to the offices were not properly vetted and were part of the spy ring. In an amazing development the night before last, the Assistant Chief Constable for the new Police Service of Northern Ireland said that he wanted to announce that the police had cracked the greatest spy ring that had ever tried to gain intelligence in the United Kingdom. He told us the number of documents that had been stolen and then he made such an amazing statement that I nearly fell off my chair. He said that he had no evidence that the documents that had been stolen would ever be made use of in terrorist campaigns. That suggests to me that there is a plan afoot, on the part of the Government, to get IRA-Sinn Fein back to the table without dealing with the problem of their possession of arms.]