Committee

Part of Northern Ireland Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:15 pm on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Belmont Lord Browne of Belmont DUP 4:15 pm, 11th March 2009

First, I extend my condolences to the family of PC Stephen Carroll, who was so brutally murdered in Craigavon. Secondly, I declare an interest as an elected Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The Bill is one of eight models that have been designed to establish a new Northern Ireland department to exercise functions that consist wholly or mainly of devolved police and justice powers. This model has received the majority support of the review committee at the Assembly. More important, it has been passed by the whole Assembly by a cross-community vote. That means that more than 50 per cent of the Members who are designated as unionists, and more than 50 per cent of the Members who are designated as nationalists, have given their approval. It is very important, particularly at this time, that the Bill is passed through this House as quickly as possible without amendment, so I do not intend to refer entirely to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Maginnis.