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Amendment No. 1 is designed to assist the Minister to return to the conclusion that he and his colleagues on the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee reached in 1997. He was not at that time burdened by the cares of office, nor by the need to negotiate with the Treasury to ensure that the necessary resources are available for the actions that he has promised.
This group of amendments is the most important to be debated this evening. In relation to the previous group of amendments, I hope that we shall in the end learn the considered position of five of the six parties involved in the Standing Committee. The Minister will know, however, that all the Northern Ireland parties support the proposal that people should supply their national insurance numbers when they apply to join the electoral register in Northern Ireland.