Clause 19

Part of Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 18th January 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Paul Goggins Paul Goggins Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Northern Ireland Office 10:00 am, 18th January 2007

I will not detain the Committee long on this issue. The Committee will be aware of the bodies and public inquiries in existence in Northern Ireland, which look back into history and try to deal with matters. There is the historical inquiries team within the PSNI, the police ombudsman and so on. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is clear that the new powers that we are giving to the Human Rights Commission should be forward looking. That is why we set the start date of 1 January 2008.

There is a technical flaw with the hon. Gentleman’s proposal. He seeks to delete the date of 1 January 2008 in one part of the clause but leaves it in subsection (3). He might want to reflect on that when deciding whether to withdraw his amendment.

Since Second Reading there has been some discussion between my right hon. Friend and the Human Rights Commission, not with a view to opening up endless investigations into the past, but about some concerns of the commission about conducting its present business because of the implementation date that we have set. We are giving that matter some consideration.

I have listened to the hon. Gentleman’s arguments and if we decide to make any changes, we shall table our own amendment on Report.