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Sam McBride

Why were the words uttered by Martin McGuinness in Stormont in 1998 judged today too awful to report?

Sam McBride


Knee-jerk secrecy on the hill now treats a dead politician’s remarks about a retired politician as sensitive personal data

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Peter Robinson (left) and Martin McGuinness

Peter Robinson (left) and Martin McGuinness

Peter Robinson (left) and Martin McGuinness

We now take for granted that what is said in Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly is freely available to read or watch. It was not always thus.

Thomas Curson Hansard — whose name survives as the title of the official record of what is said in Parliament — began publishing records of House of Commons debates at a time when it was risky to reveal parliamentary proceedings; other publishers used disguises such as ‘Debates of the Senate of Magna Lilliputia’ to convey to the public what MPs were saying in the secretive parliamentary world.


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