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

Perhaps I may respond to the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran. He drew our attention to subparagraph (11) on page 6 and accurately described what is there. If he looks a little further, he will see that a,

"resolution for the purposes", of the above paragraph,

"must be passed with the support of", and then he sees a majority of the Members of the Assembly,

"a majority of the designated Nationalists voting, and ... a majority of the designated Unionists voting".

The purpose of the amendment tabled by my noble friend Lord Smith of Clifton was simply to add to that a majority of the party from which the Justice Minister was drawn. To vote otherwise would really leave this entirely in the hands of those who would be able to describe themselves as either nationalists or unionists. That would not include, for instance, in the case that I raised earlier, Members from the Alliance Party and indeed other political parties that did not see themselves as sectarian in nature.