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Northern Ireland Executive Formation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:25 am on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Kirsten Oswald Kirsten Oswald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Work, Pensions and Inclusion) 11:25 am, 16th January 2020

I thank the Secretary of State for his statement. The SNP warmly welcomes the re-establishment of devolved government in Northern Ireland. I am sure we all recognise the importance of the restoration of devolved government to Stormont and, in particular, the positive impact that could have on the everyday lives of people all over Northern Ireland.

The people of Northern Ireland have been left without local government for three years amid Brexit and amid a crisis in their public services. There is no doubt that this absence of government has had a profound impact on their daily lives. All the work that the parties have put into enabling the restoration of devolved government must be applauded, and their efforts must be warmly welcomed, as the Secretary of State said. There is no doubt that the new Government have a huge task ahead of them, but the spirit in which the agreement was reached provides them with great opportunities.

I heard what the Secretary of State says about funding. Last night the Government committed to an additional £1 billion in support of this agreement. To be clear, we believe that that is a necessary and welcome investment, but can the Secretary of State confirm today that those moneys will be subject to the Barnett formula?

In the agreement and in the Secretary of State’s statement, the UK Government commit to a new deal for Northern Ireland in the context of it being dragged out of the EU against its will. Is he able today to detail more fully to the House what this new deal will involve, and to identify some of the specific measures that are planned?