Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:12 pm on 24th October 2018.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 1:12 pm, 24th October 2018

I would strongly advise my hon. Friend to read the guidance, but she is right: the purpose of the Bill is to enable public services to continue to be delivered; and to enable decisions around infrastructure projects, where there has been clear ministerial direction in the past, to be taken, so that we can see continued economic growth. We have seen incredible economic growth in Northern Ireland over the past 20 years. We have 60,000 more people in employment in Northern Ireland today than in 2010. I want to build on that. I do not want to see Northern Ireland go back. In the absence of an Executive, we are in great danger that Northern Ireland will come to a standstill. We cannot allow that to happen. However, the Bill is about the essential running of public services. It is not about policy decisions or changing the law. It is about enabling civil servants to carry on running those services.