Northern Ireland Budget Bill

Part of Miscellaneous – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 13th November 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Chair, Northern Ireland Affairs Committee 7:00 pm, 13th November 2017

The hon. Lady is absolutely right. That is what I mean by kicking the can down the road. Those decisions have to be made by Ministers; it is unreasonable to put civil servants in that position, particularly given that we learnt today—I welcome my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State’s announcement—that the Comptroller and Auditor General and the National Audit Office will be given powers to submit reports, which will be open to the scrutiny of both Houses. I would not want to be in the position, as a civil servant, of having to make such decisions and bear that accountability, with no ministerial top cover, for any length of time, notwithstanding my earlier remarks about direct rule. I fear the consequences of such a position. It is the dilemma with which the Government are struggling.