Amendment 16A (to Amendment 16)

Part of Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill - Report – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 17th July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown Lord McCrea of Magherafelt and Cookstown DUP 10:00 pm, 17th July 2019

My Lords, when I spoke earlier about consulting Assembly Members, I was told I should be speaking to Amendment 16, so I am delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, knows that I am speaking to the relevant amendment on this matter.

This legislation has been rushed through. We are told that everyone supports devolution and everyone wants it but there seems to be a great fear of hearing what the 90 Members of the Assembly think. We were told in our debate before that the Assembly Members had changed their minds. The last time they voted, the vast majority voted against abortion. The noble Lord, Lord Alderdice, told the House that things had changed dramatically. In fact, he went through the parties and said they have changed their views. How he knows that, I do not know. There is a way to find out—we could ask them, and this House would be led not by false information but by fact. Why can we not ask?

The noble Lord, Lord Dubs, is very interested in the protection of refugees. I say to him that I am very interested in the protection of the unborn child. I think that the child that has no voice in this House is worthy too. We have been lectured about rights and this being a matter of human rights. Is there a hierarchy of rights? Has the child no rights or fewer rights? Therefore, we want to legislate on a hierarchy of rights. I suggest that this is an opportunity to find out, genuinely and earnestly, what the elected representatives of the Northern Ireland Assembly feel. They have been used in this and the previous debate—we are legislating because the Members of the Assembly wanted to legislate. Now we are told that we do not know. We know that they voted against this legislation and we are going to legislate anyhow. I suggest that that is double standards and does nothing to credit this House.