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 10:21 pm on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Emma Little Pengelly Emma Little Pengelly Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Trade) 10:21 pm, 9th September 2019

It feels somewhat absurd that there is so much to say today regarding the reports, but so little time in which to say it. It is deeply frustrating because the people and representatives of Northern Ireland have so many things that they need to air and discuss, and that is being denied. We are currently in a situation of political turmoil across the United Kingdom, but that turmoil and turbulence is even worse in Northern Ireland due to the fact that there are no Northern Ireland institutions.

I want briefly to reiterate the offer that the Democratic Unionist party has made to Sinn Féin. Because of the exceptional circumstances that we find ourselves in, that offer is to go back into government immediately, not just with blind faith, but by agreement that we will enter into government and discuss the issues that we are currently discussing in this talks process and cannot get resolution on; and that, by agreement, if there is no resolution, then the institutions will fall. That offer is there to Sinn Féin, and we ask all political parties to urge them to take it.

There is no risk in the offer for Sinn Féin. We could get back into government, get on with talking about these issues and deal with the historical institutional abuse payments, the much-needed funds for severely injured victims, health, education and the real policies having an impact on people across Northern Ireland every day. That is the offer and I believe that it is an absolutely reasonable one. I ask Sinn Féin to consider it seriously, and everybody in this House and beyond to urge them to take it up. We live in exceptional times; we should be doing something exceptional to try to resolve the situation.