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

As the hon. Gentleman says, it is ultimately for the electorate to decide who represents them in this place, in the Assembly, or anywhere else; and it is for political parties to determine whether it is appropriate for people to stand as candidates for different legislatures. I think that there is now a consensus on that.

We can understand why dual mandates arose in a part of the United Kingdom that was riven with conflict, and where people encountered difficulties in standing for political office. We respect those who did stand for election to councils, to the Assembly and, indeed, to this place, but we are moving on from those times, and with that maturity comes the opportunity to focus attention on the one legislature to which people are elected.