New Clause 1 — Independent Members: Declaration Against Terrorism

Part of Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 1:45 pm on 26th March 2003.

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Photo of Paul Murphy Paul Murphy The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 1:45 pm, 26th March 2003

Indeed, as Mr. Trimble said a few moments ago, changing the composition of DPPs to include other parties cannot happen until the next local government elections in Northern Ireland. So there is, inevitably, by the very nature of the process, a time gap. We have made it clear that the commencement orders will not come into effect until after the acts of completion.

It is also important for the House to understand what we mean when we say that these clauses, together with other matters that will be debated in Northern Ireland in the next couple of weeks, are all conditional—this will become clear as we move along—on acts of completion, as the Prime Minister called them, by the Provisional IRA. That is why we made it absolutely clear that the two clauses have commencement orders built into them. There are two further safeguards. One is the pledge that people must take—I shall refer to it again later—and the other is the five-year period that must elapse between the completion of a sentence and the taking up of office.