North Belfast MP faced tough question after prison release

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North Belfast MP Cecil Walker faced the toughest question in his political career when he returned to his Newtownabbey home in January 1988.

The Official Unionist Member of Parliament served half of a seven-day sentence in Crumlin Road jail, after not paying a fine in protest at Public Order Legislation which had been introduced.

He said that he faced the tough question when he returned home to be asked by his grandchildren: “Why were you in jail?”

Mr Walker said: “It is a very difficult question to answer in a way in which a child can understand. They cannot understand that their British Citizenship has been eroded by the involvement of a foreign country in decisions regarding their everyday lives and future. They don’t know that their grandfather, as a Member of Parliament, is not treated in that Parliament as all other members are. Probably the only thing I can say to my grandchildren is that I went to prison to show the lady who is supposed to be responsible for your future, that she must lisiten to their grandfather and other MPs when they ask her to make sure that you will be able to live a happy and secure life in the country in which you were born.”