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West Lothian Question

19th October 2011

Harriett Baldwin calls for the commission on the West Lothian question to reach a conclusion in time for the issue to be resolved before the next election.

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con): What recent discussions he has had with the Deputy Prime Minister on the commission to consider the West Lothian question. [74406]

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr Hugo Swire): In September, the Government set out the steps that we are taking to establish a commission on the West Lothian question. Northern Ireland Office Ministers and officials will continue to have regular discussions with the Deputy Prime Minister and his office on this and a range of other issues.

Harriett Baldwin: The Minister will know that the West Lothian question is also known as the West Belfast question. Does he agree that it is important that the commission comes to a conclusion relatively quickly in order for steps to be taken to resolve this tricky constitutional issue before the next election?

Mr Swire: Yes, I believe—as do the Government, which is lucky—that we need this commission. I think that we will hear its terms of reference shortly. When it is set up, it should conclude quite quickly. No doubt my hon. Friend, who has campaigned assiduously on this matter, will wish to give the commission the benefit of her views.

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