Amendment 5

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 17th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Mackay of Clashfern Lord Mackay of Clashfern Conservative 5:30 pm, 17th July 2019

My Lords, I strongly support the view that what we need is a devolved Government in Northern Ireland. Paying attention to items that separate us is very detrimental to making progress. On the items that the noble Lord, Lord Empey, has cited, perhaps reliable legislation is not quite so important as the others, but all the others are vital for day-to-day life in Northern Ireland. I sincerely hope that the Northern Irish parties, all elected to the Assembly with the responsibility that they have, can come together on such items to get things done. Otherwise, if we have a progress report on implementation, what is it going to tell us? That nothing has happened. That is absolutely useless.

What we really need is to do our level best to get the Executive into action. I understand that there are some matters that divide the principal parties in Northern Ireland. In fact, there are things that divide people continually, but having a Government who can carry out the essential matters referred to in the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Empey, is an urgent matter, and the responsibility primarily lies with those who have been elected to the Assembly. I hope that the Government will do the best they can on these items, but surely the main message is that those responsible, elected by the people to serve in the Assembly, should come together and form an Executive to carry these things out.