Letter: Labour's peace approach

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The Independent Online
From Mr Thomas McAvoy, MP

Sir: In the strenuous efforts to restore the Northern Ireland peace process, three key points have emerged. First, that the best approach is one that involves the British and Irish governments working closely together. Second, that consideration should be given to other options and suggestions on the way forward as well as the British government's proposals. And third, that no option to take the process forward into all-party talks would proceed without the broad agreement of the Northern Ireland parties.

These three crucial points have been consistently emphasised by Tony Blair and Mo Mowlam since the Mitchell report was published.

It is clear that any attempt to try to compel the parties into one particular approach would fail. Agreement was and continues to be the only way forward.

This has been at the heart of Labour's consistent approach. We have supported the two governments' joint approach to the Downing Street declaration and the Joint Framework Document because they embraced Labour's principles and included our policy of unity by consent as one of the options available.

Labour's constructive support presents a united front against terrorism. The opportunity still exists to bring about a stable and lasting settlement for Northern Ireland on the basis of agreement and consent. Labour cannot jeopardise that for the sake of easy party politics - and neither should the Government.

Yours sincerely,

Thomas McAvoy

MP for Glasgow Rutherglen (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

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