Speaking after the riots in Belfast, the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said:
I utterly condemn the rioting that took place in Belfast last night. Attacks on the police are completely unacceptable and there can be no justification for this kind of behaviour.
This sort of behaviour does nothing to promote ‘Britishness’ or the pro-union cause. Rather it undermines it in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of people here in NI and in the rest of the UK.
Once again I pay tribute to the bravery of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and officers from Great Britain who did such an outstanding job in upholding the rule of law. They deserve our utmost praise and support.
I am sure that the PSNI will be examining the evidence carefully; those who engaged in rioting can expect to face the full force of the law. If convicted, that will inevitably for some mean prison.
It is right that the Orange Order has suspended its protests. I would now appeal to the Orange Order to call them off completely.
It is the clear responsibility of everyone who has influence, including the Orange Order, community leaders and politicians, to do what they can to calm the situation. We need temperate language over coming days.
We cannot have a repeat of last night with more police officers injured and young people drawn into violence with the inevitability of criminal convictions that will blight the rest of their lives.
The way forward has to be through dialogue so that we can find local solutions to contentious parades. I welcomed the talks that began last week. They need to resume and the violence needs to end.