Police (Northern Ireland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:41 pm on 8th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Falconer of Thoroton Lord Falconer of Thoroton Minister of State, Cabinet Office 10:41 pm, 8th November 2000

My Lords, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State in another place made clear that those who are considered for appointment as independent members of the board will, as applies to the police authority at present, be subject to character checks. Such checks will include an obligation to disclose criminal records. On a large number of occasions we have also discussed removal criteria for both political and independent members who commit criminal offences after their appointment.

However, the Government take the view that those who have been elected to the Assembly have a right to serve on the board. That is consistent with the way in which they may hold ministerial office. As I have already made clear, if they or independent members do not remain committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means, they may be removed. I believe that, as noble Lords know in relation to the Assembly, that is at the heart of the Good Friday agreement.