Amendment 16A (to Amendment 16)

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 9:30 pm on 17th July 2019.

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Photo of Lord Cormack Lord Cormack Conservative 9:30 pm, 17th July 2019

My Lords, I wish to add brief words of support. It is a disgrace that this steamroller legislation is going through the House. It is quite appalling and it must never happen again. It is not about direct rule. We do not have devolution. What the noble Baroness, Lady O’Loan, and her two co-signatories propose is very simple. Time without number, I have advocated calling the Assembly together. All the Assembly Members could be invited to Stormont and seen individually by the Secretary of State and her fellow Ministers within the space of a single day. That would be something, at least.

Analogies are never exact but the noble Baroness was right to refer to the poll tax. I happened to be the chairman of an art gallery in Edinburgh at the time of the poll tax; I went up there every month for two or three years. I was one of two Conservatives to refuse to vote for it in Scotland; I am always proud of that because it was an appalling way to legislate. This is even worse. I will support the noble Baroness’s amendment for that reason.