Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

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.

Alert me about debates like this

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 apologise, Sir Roger. I stand corrected.

I absolutely recognise the principle in the agreement on contentious domestic matters in Northern Ireland. We are talking about a consent mechanism that is being given to the Assembly uniquely in the case of an international agreement, because we recognise the importance of the issue. We also recognise the benefits of cross-community consent, which is why our approach would mean that a vote recurs more often if a decision is taken without that cross-community consent.

It is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government to develop consultation, co-operation and action within the island of Ireland—including through implementation on an all-island and cross-border basis—on matters of mutual interest within the competence of the Administrations north and south and not the responsibility of the UK Government. That is why clause 24 ensures that the UK cannot agree to the making of a recommendation by the Joint Committee, which would alter the arrangements for north-south co-operation. As the protocol ensures these aims and the Bill give effect to those commitments, I urge the hon. Members for Belfast South (Claire Hanna), for Foyle (Colum Eastwood) and for North Down to withdraw amendment 36 as it is not necessary to achieve the aims that it seeks.