Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers to meet with unionists over parades

By Lindsay Watling

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has confirmed she will meet unionist leaders in the next few days to discuss the proposal for a legal inquiry into the ongoing parading issue in north Belfast.

First Minister Peter Robinson and others are calling for an investigation after the Parades Commission barred the Orange Order from marching along a stretch of the Crumlin Road last month.

In the Commons yesterday, shadow Northern Ireland secretary Ivan Lewis asked his opposite number how she would respond.

He also asked: "What are you going to do to strengthen confidence in the downgraded Parades Commission you established with undue haste and fewer resources than its predecessor?"

Ms Villiers replied: "I can assure you the Parades Commission has not been downgraded. I will be meeting leaders of unionist political parties in a few days' time to discuss these proposals. I will listen carefully to what they have in mind.

"It is important that any way forward on this must take account of the position of the Parades Commission and do nothing to undermine its responsibilities."

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