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I beg to move,
That this House
has considered the Report pursuant to section 3(5) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019, which was laid before this House on Wednesday
I was disappointed on Monday to have to extend the period for Executive formation to
While the political parties continue to be unable to reach an accommodation, public services in Northern Ireland continue to deteriorate, hospital waiting lists get longer and frustration continues to grow. I have been in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry in the past few weeks for discussions with all five main political parties. That contact will continue over the coming weeks, as will my close working relationship with Simon Coveney, the Tanaiste, in line with the three-stranded approach.
The issues that remain between the parties are few in number and soluble in substance. It will take real commitment for the main parties to reach a compromise on those issues, but just this weekend, both the largest parties said that they wanted to restore the institutions as soon as possible. I say to the two major parties, the Democratic Unionist party and Sinn Féin: I stand ready to facilitate further talks if and when they are genuinely willing to move forward, but it is a compromise that they must be ready to reach themselves, and it cannot be imposed from this place.
Continued failure to restore the Executive will bring about extremely difficult choices about how to ensure effective governance in Northern Ireland. The Government will need to consider the appropriate next steps, including considering the duty that will be placed upon me as Secretary of State to set a date for an Assembly election.
A restored Executive and Assembly remain the best way forward for Northern Ireland, not least in the light of the UK’s impending exit from the EU. Northern Ireland needs Stormont up and running, a restored Executive and the political leadership that would bring, and I will continue to do my best to make that a reality.
Turning to abortion, I recognise that this is a sensitive and often divisive issue and that we will continue to hear representations from both sides of the debate as we move towards laying the regulations, but Parliament has spoken and the duty under section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 has now come into effect, the Northern Ireland Executive having not been restored by
We will consult on the proposals for the new legal framework and the regulations, which are to be made by
On the presumption of non-prosecution and troubles prosecution guidance, reforming the legacy system in Northern Ireland remains a major priority for the UK Government.