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Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:36 pm on 28th October 2019.

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Photo of Julian Smith Julian Smith The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland 10:36 pm, 28th October 2019

My right hon. Friend is right that the Assembly was reconstituted last Monday. I took some hope from the fact that people were speaking in the Assembly, but we needed it to run for longer than a day. I repeat what I said earlier: we need all parties to be present and standing ready to get the Executive up and running.

Last year, the Northern Ireland Office consulted extensively on the Stormont House agreement. This consultation ran from May to October 2018 and revealed wide support for the broad institutional framework of the Stormont House agreement and a consensus among the main parties in Northern Ireland that the UK Government should push ahead with legislation. At the same time, the consultation process revealed a number of areas of public concern about the detail of the proposals, including how the institutions interacted, how their independence could be preserved and the overall timeframe and costs.

I firmly believe that we must now move forward with broad consensus. It will be essential to demonstrate that any approach we take is fully capable of facilitating independent, effective investigations into troubles-related deaths and providing Northern Ireland with the best possible chance of moving forward beyond its troubled past.