My Lords, we have been speaking at length about the constitution and we have gone a good deal wider than the terms of the Bill. I want to heighten just one point about devolution. I echo my noble friend Lord McColl and my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay on the need for sensitivity. I think the amendment goes more to the heart of doing harm than is intended. Proposed new subsection (3) states:
“If a Northern Ireland Executive is formed within the period of 12 months beginning with the day on which this Act is passed, a statutory instrument containing regulations under this section must be laid before the Northern Ireland Assembly”.
That is a direct statement that, even if the Assembly returns, direct rule will be exercised on this devolved matter. I am sure my noble friend does not want to make a pugnacious statement, but if he proceeds with this I think he will find that he has engendered more opposition than he deserves.