Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [HL]
Lord Glentoran (Conservative)
My Lords, I support the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis, on this issue. It is the one remaining issue—I do not want to pre-empt anything that might arise later—that I believe is a serious mistake in the Bill. There is no reason whatever for it. Those who have been pressing to reduce this quorate number from 10 to eight members—less than 50 per cent—are totally unreasonable and must have mischievous reasons for wanting to do so.
Northern Ireland is a small place. People know each other well. They take their responsibilities seriously. There is no reason whatever—on any occasion, for any specific topic—why at least 10 of the 19 members of the Northern Ireland Policing Board should not be expected to be present and voting, as I believe the Bill states, on matters such as those related to in Clause 10.
I strongly believe that it is utterly wrong of the Government to reduce the number of members to a figure that is less than 50 per cent, and which requires a majority of five—something like 30 per cent. The board would fall into a category where political cliques could gang up and achieve measures which it would not want. I support the amendment.