Northern Ireland Office: Written Questions

Leader of the House of Lords written question – answered on 17th February 2016.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Non-affiliated

To ask the Leader of the House when was the most recent time that she gave guidance to the Northern Ireland Office on the importance of answering parliamentary written questions in full, providing all the information requested.

Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird Non-affiliated

To ask the Leader of the House, further to the Written Answer by Lord Dunlop on 9 February (HL5480), what discussion she has had with the Northern Ireland Office about answering parliamentary written questions in full.

Photo of Baroness Stowell of Beeston Baroness Stowell of Beeston Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal

As Leader of the House, I regularly stress to departments the importance of giving full and timely answers to Questions for Written Answer. The content of each answer is a matter for the Minister concerned, and each Minister is responsible to the House for the answers they provide. That direct accountability is important: that is why Ministers in this House must provide personally signed answers to members.

The Ministerial Code says that “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament”. It also makes clear that “Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest”. In addition, there is a longstanding rule of this House that all answers should be complete and comprehensible. I shall continue to make this guidance clear to all Ministers.

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