Examination of witness

Part of Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:21 pm ar 29 Mehefin 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

What we have seen subsequently is that people will have a range of views about whether something is a breach of human rights, which is very different from whether it is legally a breach of human rights. Of course, that is an evolving issue. There are safeguards there already, but I would also point out that the party of which Mr Eastwood is a member did not raise any concerns about the scope of the petition of concern at the time of the passing of the Northern Ireland Act, nor in the first decade of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s operation, and the operation of the petition of concern. This is an issue that has emerged over the past number of years, on the briefing from the likes of CAJ and others. There was no indication on the record—Hansard or elsewhere—that there was a concern about this.

To go back to the Belfast/Good Friday agreement, the obligations under strand 1 5(d) are completely separate from the obligations under strand 1 5(c). They are severable. Of course, they can be linked through the special process, which has already been outlined to you, but they are separate. It is very clear from both the spirit and the detail of the Belfast/Good Friday agreement that cross-community consensus was to apply to all key decisions.