Clause 7 - Northern ireland: reserved matters

Part of Higher Education Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 10 February 2004.

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Photo of Mr Tim Collins Mr Tim Collins Conservative, Westmorland and Lonsdale 3:15, 10 February 2004

I have two brief questions, as this is a relatively straightforward clause that relates to the inclusion of references to the arts and humanities research council in schedule 3 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which deals with reserved matters. Can the Minister offer the Committee some clarification of the status of the reserved matters under the 1998 Act? Does he imagine that the inclusion of the AHRC will be permanent alongside the other research councils, or will the British and Irish Governments and the various parties in Northern Ireland discuss it as part of a review of the Good Friday agreement? Are the provisions likely to be on the statute book for a very long time, or are they to be provisional and temporary?