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Ending Suspension

Part of Orders of the Day — Northern Ireland Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:46 pm on 8th February 2000.

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Photo of Mr Tony Benn Mr Tony Benn Labour, Chesterfield 9:46 pm, 8th February 2000

I am grateful to the Secretary of State for that positive statement. May I make a suggestion, which might be helpful? The Bill gives him the right to suspend the Executive and the Assembly. It is an undated cheque. He can suspend them at the end of the week if there is no news—or in a year or two years—without coming back to Parliament, but Parliament has to pass an order for them to be restored. Can he give the assurance, which would be very welcome, that he would come back to the House to make a statement in the light of the contemporary circumstances, which might be quite different, if at any time and for any reason it was necessary to bring the Bill into force, even though there is no legislative provision for that? That would give us an opportunity to consider and endorse his proposals.