Issue of sum out of the Consolidated Fund for the year ending 31 March 2020 and appropriation of that sum

Part of Northern Ireland Budget Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:00 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, Minister of State (London) 6:00 pm, 30th October 2019

I do not think I can give that hard guarantee to the hon. Lady. I know exactly why she is pressing me for it, and I have huge sympathy with what she is saying—and I know sympathy does not cut it—but she will know that parliamentary time is now extremely limited. It may well be, as I think Lord Ashton has indicated in the Lords today, that there is not time for the Bill to pass through both Houses. However, the hon. Lady certainly has my assurance—and I believe I speak on behalf of the Secretary of State; the hon. Lady knows how passionately he feels about this—that this will be tested very hard by us.

The hon. Lady will also know, given the importance and the sensitivity of the Bill, that we must obviously make sure it is properly considered so that victims of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland get the redress they deserve as quickly as possible. That is not a light consideration; it does require some proper scrutiny. I do not think anyone in the House is happy either that we are in the situation we are in with this Bill or about the absence of the HIA Bill, but we are where we are with the parliamentary time being extremely limited.