Part of Northern Ireland Bill – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon Liberal Democrat 4:45 pm, 11th March 2009

I accept the noble Lord's admonition. He is entirely correct and I apologise to him, his party and any others I may have inadvertently offended. However, while my expression may have been inelegant—and again I apologise to the House and to noble Lords for it—that does not subtract in any way from the substance of what I have been saying.

I ask the Government to think again. It seems unwise to put a Minister of justice, who comes from outside that division, into a position where they could be dismissed, for reasons that are nothing to do with the preservation of the balances in Northern Ireland and nothing to do with putting them in that position. This seems unwise and inappropriate and I hope the Government will think again.