Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 8th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Desai Lord Desai Labour 9:15 pm, 8th November 2000

My Lords, in moving this amendment, perhaps I may speak also to Amendments Nos. 62 to 66, which all stand in my name. Noble Lords may recall that I had tabled these amendments for debate in Committee but at that time there was a sensitive situation regarding flags so I did not pursue them.

The point is simple and, given the lateness of the hour, I shall be brief. The crux of the proposition is in Amendment No. 62. Clause 54 allows the Secretary of State to prescribe the design of an emblem or flag. My amendment says in effect that, in prescribing a design, we should be careful not to hurt the feelings of either community; therefore, we should avoid as far as possible association either with the state of Ireland or with the United Kingdom because either would offend one community or the other. Such a provision would allow the Secretary of State to create a wholly new symbol for a flag or emblem that would unite rather than divide the community. I beg to move.