When we were considering these matters earlier there arose a point in connection with the repeal of a previous item of legislation which affected the Queen's University in Belfast. I understood that at one stage it was intended that the matter should be the subject of an amendment in another place, but, for technical reasons which my hon. Friend the Minister of State has made clear to me, that has not been possible.
All I wish to do now is to get on record that Queen's University, with which I have been in touch today, is perfectly happy with the situation in the Bill and hopes that the Government will expedite the new charter which it is seeking. I thank my hon. Friend for the help he gave in the matter.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend. It is true that the Government had hoped to be able to rewrite the part of the schedule to which he refers in a way in which the matter could be incorporated in the Bill, but that has not proved possible as there is apparently no way of protecting Queen's University without running the grave risk of making the Bill hybrid, which would be extremely serious and would have delayed the Bill's passage through this House and another place.
In those circumstances we have been obliged to omit any reference to Queen's University. As my hon. Friend clearly accepts, and has established for himself, the university has nothing to fear. I am certain that the Northern Ireland Assembly would not wish to legislate against its interests. The university is seeking a new charter which will give it all the protection it needs. It must be hoped that everything will be done to expedite the achievement of that charter.