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 could not agree more with the noble Lord, Lord Caine. It seems to me that the Government will not do anything that will ruffle the feathers of Sinn Féin—they cannot disturb it. We have had this constant threat, and the noble Lord, Lord Caine, has said it: if some decisions were made of importance to people in their everyday lives, there would be a sigh of relief across the whole of Northern Ireland, irrespective of what community background they might come from. We have to get to the stage where Sinn Féin can no longer dictate the pace.

I know, and I have heard it in this House, that the Belfast agreement is sacrosanct; it is the holy grail and cannot be touched. Let me say to your Lordships’ House that the Belfast agreement has had a coach and horses driven through it and it is time that the Government suspended it and took over temporarily. I want the Northern Ireland Assembly there, I served as a Minister there on two occasions, I served in the Assembly for some 18 years, I see the merits of it and the positives that can come out of it, and it is time that it was restored. But please, do not allow our having to move at the pace of the slowest in Northern Ireland to continue infinitely. Others are being penalised here when they should be allowed to get on with their lives. Government should be supplying the necessary governance to allow that to happen.