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Main power in connection with other separation issues

Part of European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:00 pm on 8th January 2020.

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Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office) 2:00 pm, 8th January 2020

I hear the hon. Gentleman’s point, which I am happy to look into, but my understanding is that under the Bill those bodies have the powers they need to acquire the necessary information. I am grateful to him for his gracious withdrawal.

New clauses 11 and 12 were tabled by Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson. I want to make it clear from the outset that the Government’s commitment to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Belfast agreement, which it implements, is unfaltering. The consent mechanism contained in the protocol, for which the Government will legislate before the first vote is required in 2024, operates on the basis of a majority of democratically elected representatives in Northern Ireland being able to continue or end alignment with EU law. I am certain that this is the right mechanism. The right position in principle is not to hand a veto to any one party—not to Brussels, not to Dublin and not to any one party or community in Northern Ireland. That is what our consent mechanism does. I therefore urge the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw his amendments and back this arrangement.