Government's Legislative Programme (Northern Ireland)

Northern Ireland Office written statement – made on 20th December 2019.

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Photo of Julian Smith Julian Smith The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The Government’s legislative programme for the first Session was outlined by Her Majesty on Thursday 19 December. This statement provides a summary of the programme and its application to Northern Ireland. It does not include draft bills, Law Commission bills or Finance Bills.

The Government is committed to delivering for all its citizens, wherever they live - the nations of the United Kingdom are safer, stronger and more prosperous when working together. The legislative programme therefore contains important reforms to domestic issues that will benefit people across the Union, as well as legislation that will allow the United Kingdom to seize the opportunities afforded by the exit from the European Union.

The Government’s priority in Northern Ireland is the restoration of the Executive at the earliest opportunity. Northern Ireland has now been without devolved government since January 2017. In that time, we have seen hospital waiting lists get longer, public services deteriorate, and frustration in Northern Ireland grow at the lack of an Executive. Talks to restore the institutions of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement resumed on Monday 16 December. The talks are being held in accordance with the well-established three-stranded principle. This is the overriding priority for both the UK Government and the Irish Government. So the UK Government, working closely with the Irish Government in the normal way, will continue to intensify our efforts to put forward compromise solutions to the parties.

In the absence of an Executive, the Government is committed to taking action to ensure good governance in Northern Ireland, including, where necessary, through legislative measures.

The following Bills contained in the programme are likely to extend to Northern Ireland:

  • Agriculture Bill
  • Air Traffic Management and Unmanned Aircraft Bill
  • Armed Forces (Legal Protections) Bill
  • Birmingham Commonwealth Games Bill
  • Building Safety Bill
  • Counter Terrorism (Sentencing and Release) Bill
  • Domestic Abuse Bill
  • Employment Bill
  • Environment Bill
  • European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill
  • Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill
  • Fisheries Bill
  • Financial Services Bill
  • Health Service Safety Investigations Bill
  • Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (European Union Withdrawal) Bill
  • Online Harms Bill
  • Medicines and Medical Devices Bill
  • National Security and Investment Bill
  • Pension Schemes Bill
  • Private International Law (Implementation of Agreements) Bill
  • Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill
  • Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill
  • Telecommunications (Connectivity) Bill
  • Thomas Cook Compensation Bill
  • Trade Bill
  • Windrush (Compensation Scheme) Bill

In the absence of a devolved Assembly and Executive, we will continue to work constructively with Northern Ireland Departments to deliver legislation which has effect in Northern Ireland. Should the devolved be restored then, in line with the Sewel Convention and associated practices, the Government will work constructively with the Northern Ireland Executive to secure the legislative consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly where appropriate.