Amendment 12

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 8:00 pm on 17th July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

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) 8:00 pm, 17th July 2019

My Lords, the noble Lord ends on a note I would have started on. I think all noble Lords would far rather these decisions were taken in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Many of us, over many years, have supported devolution and campaigned for it, and some of us have been direct rule Ministers working towards establishing the institutions. The noble Lord strayed into another debate later when he talks about Amendment 16, which is not in this group. On that issue, the best way to consult Members of the Legislative Assembly is for them to sit and conduct their business so that they can take these decisions.

I shall pick up a couple of points from the debate. One was the issue of these amendments not being in scope. I have to say that my experience of the Table Office and the clerks of your Lordships’ House is that they are sometimes infuriatingly proper. I can think of many a discussion that my team and I have had where we insisted that something was in scope, but there was no way the clerks would shift if they said it was out of scope. I therefore urge your Lordships’ House to recognise that if we have an amendment before us, it is because it is in scope.

Perhaps I can help the noble Lord, Lord McCrea, on a point he raised earlier from my own experience as a Minister. He was slightly suspicious of the Minister—