Examination of Witness

Part of Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:02 pm ar 29 Mehefin 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Sir Jonathan Stephens:

I think they are likely to be more effective than the existing provisions, which are seven days or 14 days respectively. As I indicated, where a fundamental disagreement arose, that was almost inadequate time even to get discussions going. Once that deadline was busted, there was nothing to fall back on. Of course, you may encounter a disagreement that is so fundamental that whatever amount of time you provide for it is inadequate, but the negotiations on the Stormont House agreement and the fresh start agreement both lasted roughly 12 to 16 weeks. I think that sort of period of time provides a reasonable window in which to seek to resolve fundamental disagreements, but at the end of the day it depends upon a willingness among the parties to get together to discuss, seek to understand and resolve those differences. More time helps, but it is not the complete answer