Committee

Part of Northern Ireland Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 11th March 2009.

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Photo of Lord Glentoran Lord Glentoran Shadow Minister (the Olympics), Culture, Media & Sport, Shadow Minister, Northern Ireland, Shadow Minister, Wales 5:30 pm, 11th March 2009

This is also a detailed amendment. The base of it is that I have been concerned ever since I started working on the Bill with the possibility of there being quite long periods after devolution without the appointment of a Minister. In other words, we could have criminal justice and policing devolved and even have a Ministry put together but if we do not have a Minister appointed, the department will be rudderless. It is a very serious department to have rudderless. My amendments attempt to cover that by setting time limits on how long the Assembly has to get its act together and agree to the Minister, the leader, on all occasions that the post becomes vacant. I am concerned that in the Bill there are at least two opportunities for sluggishness in making the appointment and for hanging around. Then we will not have direction in what is probably the most important department in that Executive. I beg to move.