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Clause 2 - Membership of the Commission

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 25th March 2004.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 10:15 am, 25th March 2004

If the hon. Gentleman believes that such reflective composition is not worth pursuing, I feel sorry for him, although I am not particularly surprised by what he says. He is perhaps a little careless in his use of language and he might consider the difference between ''reflective'' and ''representative''. That is a significant point. We are not proposing a commission that is entirely representative in some statistical way. My point is that the information is already in the public domain,

and it is possible, on an objective measure, to establish whether the commission will be considered reflective.

The same themes are pursued in the amendments tabled by the right hon. Member for Upper Bann, albeit in a different way, and I shall leave him to speak to those. I am particularly intrigued by the formulation in amendment No. 30, although I understand its genesis. I would love to see lay members with

''a sophisticated understanding of legal issues as well as proven experience in selection procedure'',

but I fear that that might exclude a lot of lawyers.