Clause 8 - Commencement

Part of Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:30 am ar 6 Gorffennaf 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 10:30, 6 Gorffennaf 2021

Committee members will know that it is usual practice and parliamentary procedure to allow two months before provisions come into effect following Royal Assent. The type of preparatory measures we might be referring to in this case could be the very changes to Assembly Standing Orders that we have debated. Nevertheless, I recognise the strength of feeling among Committee members.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Heeley talked about recent events in Northern Ireland. The Bill was not brought forward as a response to recent events. It was brought forward as a response to NDNA and what was agreed between the parties. In terms of the time that has elapsed, she will know that Parliament has been extremely occupied with covid legislation, thanks to the pandemic, but we made a point of introducing this Bill early in this Session. We have also given the time for the Bill not to be rushed through as emergency legislation, but to be subject to full parliamentary scrutiny, which has been welcomed by all sides. That is good news and is all too rare an occurrence for a Northern Ireland Bill.

We are not minded to accept the amendment, but should the political context in Northern Ireland and an early commencement be beneficial for Executive stability, we are content for it to be considered in the other place. I urge the hon. Gentleman to withdraw the amendment for the time being and allow the process of parliamentary scrutiny to continue. Should the progress that we have seen today be repeated in the other place, and the level of cross-party support that we are seeing at this stage, I see no reason why they could not allow for an amendment of this nature to proceed.