Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 Section 3(2)

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019 (Rule of Law) – in the House of Commons at 8:59 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Julian Smith Julian Smith The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 8:59 pm, 9th September 2019

I thank my hon. Friend for her intervention.

The EF Act requires new laws in areas including same-sex marriage, opposite-sex civil partnerships, abortion, and victims’ payments. These are sensitive devolved issues, and this Government’s preference is that they are taken forward by a restored Executive. Again, I am sorry that we have not been able to discuss the important issue of victims’ payments in the motion that was not moved. Across these issues, this House has spoken, and these duties to legislate will come into effect if the Executive is not back up and running in the next few weeks. Despite the truncated debate today, I underscore my assurance to the House that I will continue to uphold the letter and the spirit of my obligations under the EF Act in full. I will update Parliament on these issues in the next Session, and indeed will say a bit more on abortion law in Northern Ireland later in my speech, but I now turn to each of the issues listed for debate today.