New Clause 1 — Independent Members: Declaration Against Terrorism

Part of Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 4:30 pm on 26th March 2003.

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Photo of Lembit Öpik Lembit Öpik Liberal Democrat, Montgomeryshire 4:30 pm, 26th March 2003

The Secretary of State may be coming to this, but I want to raise two issues that matter to Liberal Democrat Members of the other place. First, I should like him to confirm once and for all something that we already know by observation, but which has been skirted around by previous Secretaries of State— namely, that when it comes to acts of completion, what he really wants is to maintain some political latitude in terms of interpretation. That is understandable, but if he confirmed it we would at least be talking about these matters honestly, rather than pretending that it is not the case.

Secondly, we are vexed by the idea that commencement might be implemented through a statutory instrument in some corner of the House. Will he give an assurance that the whole House and the whole of the other place will have the opportunity to debate these matters before any commencement takes place?