My Lords, I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, was here on Monday, for reasons that I am sure we all understand. The message then was exactly what he says: we are moving inexorably towards direct rule.
I want to make one point to the people of Northern Ireland. They are being served incredibly well in your Lordships’ House by the noble Lord, as well as by the noble Lord, Lord Empey, and my noble friend Lord Trimble, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. They are active in your Lordships’ House after all the distinguished service they have given, and continue to give, in Northern Ireland. I hope that that will send a reassuring message.
I hope, above all, that their unity on the subject of devolution will spur on our colleagues from the DUP and others to redouble their efforts to get the Assembly meeting and an Executive formed. If we have to wait a little time, as the noble Lord has said, and many of us have said, time and again, can we please have the Assembly meeting, its committees meeting? That, at least, is something. I very much hope that long before any of the dates in this Bill come, we will at least see that happen.