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 6:13 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 6:13 pm, 30th October 2019

Let me put on record my thanks to the Minister for the help he gave my constituents, Sophia, Darren and Danielle Gibson in Newtownards, in relation to medicinal cannabis and the related methodology—working, in all fairness, with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland to make that happen. He will have received the card that we all got to say thank you, and he has the one with wee Sophia’s photograph. I am sure he still has it; I have one in my office, too. I thank him so much, and wish him well as he moves on.

This is not the first time that I have spoken on Third Reading of a Northern Ireland Budget Bill debate and bemoaned the state of finances in Departments in Northern Ireland. We find ourselves in the difficult situation of having no functioning devolved Assembly. We have a seriously limited local council system; its powers are not on a par with those held by councils throughout the rest of the United Kingdom—that is a fact of life. We have a Westminster Parliament that has intervened only when legally necessary—other than to impose abortion against the will of the people of Northern Ireland. I find that disturbing, and my constituents in Strangford and people across Northern Ireland find it unacceptable. As I have said numerous times in this Chamber, either direct rule in its entirety should be implemented or legislation to call for an Assembly election should be introduced with the prerequisite that anyone who stands must take their seats and nominate accordingly.