Part of Northern Ireland Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:17 pm on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Lord Kilclooney Lord Kilclooney Crossbench 5:17 pm, 11th March 2009

The amendment seems to me to be downright common sense and I shall support it, unless there is a more adequate reply. The Bill, as the noble Lord, Lord Browne, has said, simply says that there must be an affirmation of,

"the terms of the pledge of office".

Where in the Bill is that pledge of office defined and what exactly is this pledge of office? The wording seems very vague: we would be agreeing to something which is not explained. The solemn declaration in the amendment to respect the operational independence of the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and to uphold the independence of the judiciary in Northern Ireland is common sense. Incidentally, when the Lord President says that the appointment has already been made by the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister and been widely welcomed throughout Northern Ireland, can she put on the record the name of that appointee? Obviously, it must be widely known if it has been widely welcomed.