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 8:05 pm on 16th October 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Gavin Robinson Gavin Robinson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Defence) 8:05 pm, 16th October 2019

My right hon. Friend is entirely right. This is an issue that we are going to have to return to. When I read the reports before us this evening, the very first line told me that I did not really need to read the rest. The report was based on information from the Northern Ireland Office. That said it all to me. I say that with great deference to the Minister and officials at the back of the Chamber. As somebody who sits on the Defence Committee and who knows the reports that we have published on these issues and what the Government response has been, particularly from the Ministry of Defence, I can say that to rely solely on information from our good friends at the back of the Chamber is simply not good enough.

On talks, it is right that there will be an opportunity, which I hope is seized, for the Assembly to return on Monday. There has been some strange confusion or concern around this quest to have the recall of the Assembly, as though that in some way satisfies the Act. We cannot elect an Executive unless the Assembly meets. One can only follow the other, but it is high time that there was a return to devolution in Northern Ireland. Back in July, when we considered the amendments that are being discussed this evening, we could not have been clearer that, irrespective of the personal interests of Labour Members or the way in which they have campaigned on these issues continually—it is entirely their right to do so—to focus on two issues solely and not in any way to include other issues or aspects of encouragement would have one fundamental impact: it would prove to be a disincentive to the restoration of the Assembly. We need only look at comments made by a party leader in Northern Ireland today. When asked whether their party leaders would support the recall of the Assembly, the response was, “No, because we would lose out on the proposals that are due on 22 October.”