Blast on eve of Commons debate
THE explosion came the day before a House of Commons debate on the Northern Ireland Emergency Provisions Bill. The measure was intended to renew emergency powers for a two year period from April instead of the previous five years, which was reduced as part of a review of the situation in Northern Ireland.
Tory MP Mr David Wilshire, vice chairman of his party's backbench Northern Ireland Committee, had already tabled two amendments to try to extend the limit beyond two years with a view to getting a full debate on the issue.
He said last night: "It will be interesting to see whether during the course of tomorrow there is a hardening of opinion. I very much hope there will be. On the assumption it is another IRA bomb, we have definite proof now of an ongoing campaign...
"It has nothing to do with planned elections in Ulster and everything to do with the conclusion that the IRA has come to that it is not going to get a united Ireland through talks and will only do so through bombing the English into submission. These are evil people."
Meanwhile, Sky News claimed last night MI5 had warned the British government that the IRA was planning a two year campaign.