Committee

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 Browne of Belmont Lord Browne of Belmont DUP 4:45 pm, 11th March 2009

The removal of the Justice Minister was discussed before legislation was published. It is important that arrangements are in place to enable the Justice Minister to be removed, although they are unlikely to be triggered during the interim period. Even with the existing provision, the Justice Minister could still be removed through the normal exclusion procedure or through a Section 17(1) resolution rearranging departments. It is important that some removal power is in place apart from the normal provisions because it is consistent, first, with the letters of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister. It is also important that there is consistency between appointment and removal. I would point out that permitting a removal of the Justice Minister by a cross-community vote is entirely consistent in that it mirrors the manner of the appointment of that Justice Minister. This power again is highly unlikely to be used and other departmental models already provide for analogous arrangements for removal by those who appointed.