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Civil Partnerships, Marriages and Deaths (Registration etc) Bill - Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:45 pm on 1st March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Hayward Lord Hayward Conservative 12:45 pm, 1st March 2019

My Lords, this has been a full and very constructive debate. First, I apologise to the noble Baroness, Lady Barker, if I leave the Chamber immediately after my amendment is dealt with—I will return as quickly as possible.

Secondly, somewhat surprisingly, I disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Cashman, and others, who talked about responsibility in relation to gay marriage and equality in Northern Ireland. I do so on the basis that a legal case is coming, which may decide where the responsibility lies. I agree with the noble Lords, Lord Kilclooney, Lord McCrea and Lord Morrow, that it would appear that, under the legislation, responsibility for this matter would fall to the Northern Ireland Assembly if it were sitting. If it did not fall within that remit, this House and the other place should have made that clear when preparing the legislation. So, to some extent, the problem we are in falls to us as legislators in Westminster.

I was particularly pleased by the acknowledgement by the noble Lord, Lord Morrow, that things in Northern Ireland are changing.