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

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:23 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Tony Lloyd Tony Lloyd Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 4:23 pm, 5th March 2019

On the first question, it is very reasonable to ask what happens next. We simply cannot allow this vacuum to continue—decisions are not being made. I would say to the right hon. Gentleman that, from my perspective at the moment, I still think we have to say that the hope is for a restoration of the Stormont structures, because if we give up on that, we are giving up on at least the principle of what the Good Friday agreement delivered.

Democracy matters. The right hon. Gentleman would not accept the situation—I say this to him seriously—if I said that we were going to abrogate his local council’s need to function. This is not about getting two to tango, but probably about getting at least five parties in Stormont to tango, plus the Government here in London and, actually, the Government in Dublin. We have to see a much more concerted effort to get people around the table to try to break the logjam. If we start raising the spectre of direct rule at this point, we are saying that we are giving up on power sharing.