We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 Section 3(5)

Part of Deferred Divisions – in the House of Commons at 7:00 pm on 16th October 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office) (jointly with the Northern Ireland Office) 7:00 pm, 16th October 2019

I think we can all welcome the fact that the Bill is being introduced and is moving forward. I am afraid that I do not have the full details of the timetable, but I will seek to consult colleagues in the Lords and, perhaps, write to the hon. Lady. I join her in paying tribute to the victims’ groups, about whom we have heard a great deal from Members throughout the House, and who have waited so patiently for redress and worked so constructively with those involved in the Hart inquiry, and with officials and politicians.

Let me now turn to the talks. The House should be in no doubt of the strength of our resolve to get Stormont back up and running. In the weeks since the first report was published, the Secretary of State has intensified his work with the Northern Ireland parties—particularly the two largest parties—to seek solutions to the remaining issues, which include rights, language and identity. He has continued to work closely with the Tánaiste, in accordance with the three-stranded approach, and the British and Irish Governments share the view that there remains an opportunity in the coming days to reach an accommodation. Indeed, the Secretary of State is not here in person to open the debate because he has decided to stay on in Northern Ireland tonight in order to continue to engage with the parties this evening.

The people of Northern Ireland have gone for more than 1,000 days without an Executive and Assembly, and I, along with colleagues throughout the House, do not want that stagnation to continue. Northern Ireland needs effective decision making, and its people deserve progress on key issues, including many that have been raised in the published reports.