National Crime Agency

Mr Peter Hain (Neath) (Lab): I strongly support the Secretary of State’s efforts to persuade all those involved, including in her discussions with the parties in Northern Ireland, to ensure that the remit of the National Crime Agency is extended. Whatever the circumstances surrounding the hesitancy about that from Belfast so far, everybody will want to see every possible effort made to tackle these issues—particularly after two executions attributed to dissident republicans last week and 12 security threats recently—and she ought to make sure that happens.

Mrs Villiers: I agree and will continue to do everything possible to make the case for the extension of the NCA’s activities in Northern Ireland. It is also worth bearing it in mind that there were some ways in which the legislation on the NCA would have strengthened accountability in Northern Ireland, because it would have extended the remit of the police ombudsman to proceeds of crime matters, which are not currently covered by the policing and justice settlement. In many ways, the legislation, which does not currently have agreement in Northern Ireland, would have enabled us to strengthen accountability on police activities in Northern Ireland.