Northern Ireland Budget Bill - Second Reading (and remaining stages)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:51 am on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Lord Morrow Lord Morrow DUP 11:51 am, 31st October 2019

I thank my noble friend for making those very succinct points and I agree entirely with him. He has raised the hardship cases with the Minister before, and we need the Minister to come back on this. Perhaps this will be the day we hear a reply from him on those pressing issues. What about the hardship cases? I think he gave a clear understanding that each one would be looked at individually, that this would not just be taken in a bland way, that a chairman would be appointed, a report would be forthcoming and the Minister would come back and respond to it.

My noble friend mentions the issues that were steamed through; namely, the redefinition of marriage and abortion. Those were two of Sinn Féin’s demands—of course, the other one is the Irish language Act. It seems to me that it has moved far past that: another string of demands will surface and be announced soon, and those will have to be delivered if we want a return to Stormont. Really, the people of Northern Ireland deserve to be governed and no single party should be allowed to hold all the people to ransom, including some who actually support it and who fail to understand why they cannot have a health service that functions properly, an education system that is up to the demands of the 21st century, and an infrastructure. All these will not hurt anybody but will enhance their lives, so can the Minister today give us any assurance? I know where we are in the timetable of things. We are in the mouth of another election; that will take us on through to next year before we can get anything done, and then we will rattle on through Easter and on through the Summer Recess, and on and on it goes. There always seems to be some reason why Northern Ireland cannot be governed like any other region of the United Kingdom.