The shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland has pressed the government to open an inquiry into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane.

Mr Finucane was murdered by loyalist terrorists at his home in north Belfast in 1989.

Shaun Woodward made the call while addressing the Labour Party Conference.

In response, Secretary of State Owen Paterson said Labour had 13 years to deal with the issue and failed to resolve it.

“The government has said that we will set out our position shortly and that is what we fully intend to do,” he added.

Mr Woodward told the conference it was important the coalition honoured commitments to investigate allegations that the security forces colluded with the killers.

“This time last year I asked the secretary of state to honour the commitment by a former prime minister, Tony Blair, that there would be an inquiry into the death of Pat Finucane,” Mr Woodward said.

Family waiting

“He promised the decision would be soon. Twelve months later, no decision.

“Why are the Finucane family still waiting?”

Mr Woodward added: “If it is his (NI Secretary of State Owen Paterson’s) intention to renege on another commitment, I urge him to think again.”

In July, Mr Finucane’s wife, Geraldine, said she was disappointed about further delays in holding an inquiry into her husband’s murder.

Mrs Finucane said Owen Paterson had not kept a promise and she had been given no reason for this latest setback.

In 2004, Mr Paterson’s predecessor Paul Murphy announced his intention to hold an inquiry under the new Inquiries Act.

The Finucane family are opposed to the probe being held under this legislation, which they said would make the inquiry accountable to the minister responsible rather than to parliament.