Northern Ireland: Devolved Government - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:59 pm on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 2:59 pm, 18th March 2019

My Lords, while the Prime Minister is repeatedly failing to get her Brexit deal through Parliament, she has shown less determination in trying to secure the return of a functioning Executive and Assembly in Northern Ireland. Today, we are hearing rumours of a last-minute “Stormont lock”, and other negotiations, to try to win the backing of the DUP for the Prime Minister’s deal. I have two questions. First, if there is a “Stormont lock”, given that there is no functioning Executive or Assembly, would it be the DUP or the unelected civil servants making decisions that would affect the whole of the United Kingdom? Secondly, what assurances can the Minister give to convince this House that the Government’s approach to Northern Ireland and the UK constitution is being driven by something more encouraging than political expediency and the short-term goals of Mrs May and No. 10?