The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee hears from the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, as part of their inquiry into democracy and devolution in Northern Ireland.
Wednesday 28 February 2018, Grimond Room, Portcullis House
- Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
- Sir Jonathan Stephens KCB, Permanent Secretary, Northern Ireland Office
Purpose of the session
Lord Murphy of Torfaen served as Northern Ireland Secretary between 2002 and 2005, during a period of direct rule. The session examines how direct rule operated during the time he was in office and asks what measures could be taken to improve scrutiny and accountability should a form of direct rule be re-instituted. It also considers the suitability of current mechanisms to establish an Executive in providing stable, long-term government in Northern Ireland, and investigate potential reforms.
With deadlock continuing in talks to restore the Northern Ireland Executive, the Committee questions Karen Bradley on the next steps for the Government. They will look at the prospects for restarting talks and consider if additional involvement from other parties or external mediators would help resolve red-line issues. Throughout the inquiry, the Committee has heard of the pressing need for budgetary decisions and ministerial guidance to support effective governance in Northern Ireland. The Committee will ask what steps, including legislation, the Secretary of State will be prepared to take and what the timescale will be.