Northern Ireland Budget (Anticipation and Adjustments) (No. 2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:50 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 3:50 pm, 5th March 2019

I understand the hon. Gentleman’s concerns, but we have to be aware of the constitutional precedents that are set by changing the way we scrutinise these Bills. The way this Bill should be taken through is not as primary legislation; it should be an estimates process done in Stormont, in the same way as we vote on our Budget in this House. We do not have scrutiny of the Budget resolutions upstairs; we have a Finance Bill that puts them into legislation, but we vote on Ways and Means resolutions on the Floor of the House. Unfortunately, we do not have the ability to do that in Stormont, for well documented reasons. What I want is to see those politicians in Northern Ireland doing the right thing, coming back to Stormont and forming the Executive, so that all those proper processes can be applied. We should not kid ourselves that some substitute arrangement will offer a different approach; we have to see devolved government restored in Stormont.