New clause 1 - Discrimination in appointments

Part of Police (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 11th March 2003.

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Photo of Rt Hon David Trimble Rt Hon David Trimble Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party 3:15 pm, 11th March 2003

It is important to place on the record our welcome for the Government new clause, which will mean a departure from 50:50 recruitment provisions. I am pleased that the Government have been prepared to reflect on the Policing Board's proposals. At the same time, I deprecate the fact that

the Government were prepared to act only on the basis of a unanimous decision by the Policing Board, which is a bad precedent. The composition of the board might change and the Government could place obstacles in the way of other good ideas coming from it.

Rather than attaching themselves to the unanimity of the board, the Government would have done better to attach themselves to the good sense of the proposal. I am pleased at the departure from 50:50 at the board's request, but I remain concerned that the Government act only on utilitarian grounds rather than in response to the injustice committed against hundreds of people. Should that not also be remedied?