Clause 38 - Code for Prosecutors

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 6:30 pm ar 5 Chwefror 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Seamus Mallon Mr Seamus Mallon Social Democratic and Labour Party, Newry and Armagh 6:30, 5 Chwefror 2002

I thank the hon. Lady for her contribution. She is right about the decisions of the Assembly. The decisions that are to be made with cross-community support are specified as those on the election of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister, budgetary arrangements and the human rights content of the agreement. There may be another.

My crucial point is that the functions of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister are joint. What comes as a more terrible shock is that they are not only joint, but joint and equal. That takes some people by surprise, but that is what is in the legislation, which was written not by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister, but by Parliament. That is the reality, and if we are to get to grips with the essence of the Bill and other legislation, we must realise that they hold a joint equal office, reflecting the joint equal decision-making process and what was known in the negotiations as parallel consent.

The hon. Lady asked about other organisations. I immediately think of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and several others that may be able to make an input. The Probation Board for Northern Ireland may be another. All those organisations need to be explored, and I agree with the hon. Lady that there is an open-ended quality about the amendment that encourages me not to press it to a vote at this stage.