New Clause 1 — Independent Members: Declaration Against Terrorism

Part of Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 1:39 pm on 26th March 2003.

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Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 1:39 pm, 26th March 2003

We had a flavour of what the debate may be like in points of order—all of us will have become aware of that flavour over the past few months. What we are considering in this batch of new clauses and amendments is nothing new. We talked in the autumn about—ugly phrase—"texts for consideration", and referred to discussions held in August 2001 which resulted in the publication of the implementation plan for the Patten report. If aficionados turn to page 11 of the plan, which deals with recommendations 27 and 28 of the report, they will see that the district policing partnerships and the sub-groups in Belfast have to be considered in detail, as the House is going to do this afternoon.The plan was followed by a review of policing, which was introduced by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office. Again, reference has been made to those issues. On 25 November 2002, the texts for consideration were published alongside the draft Bill. I know that when the House discussed clause 14, such issues were debated. Mr. Robinson referred in his point of order to the Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs, which has also discussed and debated those issues.

Why, on 25 November 2002, was it decided to separate texts for consideration from the Bill itself? It was not simply because it happened to be my birthday—