DEcember 1983 - Hume warns over use of Emergency Powers in the North

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In a scathing attack on the provisions of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Powers) Act, when its renewal was debated in the House of Commons, the SDLP leader, John Hume said the policy being pursued by the use of the Act meant the British Government was reduced to containing violence by means which themselves were increasing the political problem and increasing alienation.

Mr Hume said that the rule of law in any democratic society must be based on political consensus within that community, particularly if it was a deeply divided society.

It was the absence of that very consensus in Northern Ireland that was the Achilles heel which was consistently exploited by violent and terrorist organisations, Mr Hume said.