Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Finucane murder: No overarching state conspiracy - PM

A report into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane makes for "extremely difficult" reading, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

He said the review by Sir Desmond de Silva QC found "no overarching state conspiracy to murder Pat Finucane" but "shocking levels of state collusion".

In a statement to the Commons on 12 December 2012, Mr Cameron said the report found that actions by employees of the state "actively facilitated" the killing.

Mr Finucane was shot by loyalist paramilitaries in front of his wife and children at his north Belfast home in February 1989.

The defence solicitor's clients had included IRA hunger strikers and families involved in shoot-to-kill allegations against the police.

The report found no evidence that any government minister had "fore-knowledge" of Mr Finucane's murder or knew about the subsequent cover-up.

Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband said Mr Finucane's murder was an "appalling episode in our history".

The Finucane family has called for a public inquiry into the murder - which Mr Miliband said his party supported.

Mr Cameron said he ruled out a public inquiry because it might not have uncovered so much information about the killing.

SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell argued that the report did not go far enough and only reached "half the truth", and asked the PM to reconsider for a "full inquiry and prosecutions".

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said that in all his political life he could not remember a government statement which filled him with "more revulsion and horror".

"The violation of the Finucane family, the horror of the assassination, compounded by what we now know were deliberate attempts of obfuscation.

"If this report does anything it surely points out the crucial fact that when dealing with terrorism you must not descend to the levels of terrorists because by doing so you lose the argument," he said.

Last year, the PM acknowledged there was state collusion in Mr Finucane's murder and apologised to his family. Mr Cameron reiterated his apology in his statement "on behalf of this government and the whole country".


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