Page last updated at 12:53 GMT, Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Northern Ireland questions

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All parties in Northern Ireland must come together to ensure that dissidents do not become a "major threat" to people in the province, Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward has said.

Mr Woodward told MPs at his departmental question session on 4 November that a report from the Independent Monitoring Commission was "very clear" that the swift devolution of policing and justice powers would be a "potent intervention" to help counter the threat.

"That is an intervention which I urge on all those elected in Northern Ireland regardless of party," he added.

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson said the report contained "some encouraging news but other information which is deeply worrying".

"It is down to all four parties in the coalition on the executive to work together to finalise the details and the timing," he added.

Liberal Democrat spokesman Alistair Carmichael echoed the call for early transfer of policing and justice powers, adding: "In the long term these groups will only be countered if we are able to pursue an agenda of shared futures."

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