Oral Answers to Questions — Justice

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:45 pm on 17th February 2020.

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Photo of Naomi Long Naomi Long Alliance 2:45 pm, 17th February 2020

Terrorist offences are for the UK Government to legislate on because they are a reserved matter. However, there is, of course, the opportunity for us to look at when parole kicks in with respect to those offences. As I said in answer to Doug Beattie's question, the issue is that this was driven by an imperative in England and Wales with respect to a particular issue that was arising. When the MOJ introduces UK-wide legislation on counterterrorism later in the spring, there will be an opportunity to address the wider issues, including the one that the Member raised. It is my hope that, at that stage, we will have better engagement with the MOJ, the Department of Justice and the NIO to ensure that we regularise what has become an anomaly in the system. However, I am clear that it is our preference that the UK-wide approach to this is consistent and that a two-tier system — one administered in Northern Ireland and one administered in the rest of the UK — does not develop.