Clause 1

Part of Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Sylvia Hermon Sylvia Hermon UUP, North Down 5:30 pm, 16th January 2007

That is the answer that I expected the Minister to give, because, of course, paragraphs (a), (b), (d) and (e) do not mention family. Paragraphs (a) and (b), in particular, do not mention having a family or having children. It would have been ludicrously discriminatory if the provision depended on the presence of children when people live together as partners, but not in the cases of civil partnerships and marriages. That would not have been a tenable position.

I would be happier if the Minister were to say to the Committee that he and his officials will reflect on the matter, because I have some difficulty in deciding whether, for example, paragraph (b) refers to a civil partner or a former civil partner. Surely that cannot be mutually exclusive of being a relative or, indeed, a friend, which are categories (d) and (e).

The list is very difficult, and we are giving the DPP a difficult task.