Northern Ireland Assembly Members Bill [ Lords]

Part of Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:54 pm on 11th March 2010.

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Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 2:54 pm, 11th March 2010

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

After the long negotiations at Hillsborough Castle and the drama of Tuesday's vote in the Assembly, we now come to what I expect-or perhaps I should say "I hope"-will be a rather more low-key debate on the setting of salaries and allowances for Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly. I want to begin by congratulating Northern Ireland's politicians on taking the decision on Tuesday to transfer policing and justice powers on 12 April. I also want to thank again all those who have an interest in Northern Ireland affairs, wherever they sit in the House, for their support for the devolution process. I particularly want to thank colleagues who speak for the Opposition parties on these matters;
whenever we can, we try to work towards a consensus. Putting power into the hands of local people is the answer and the way forward. As we debate the orders that were laid yesterday to facilitate the completion of devolution, I am confident that we will continue to see cross-party consensus here at Westminster.