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Lords debates Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill

31 October 2018

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Members of the Lords, including a former First Minister of Northern Ireland and a former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, discussed the key principles and purpose of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill during second reading, followed by the bill's remaining stages, on Tuesday 30 October.

The bill's remaining stages in the Lords - committee stage, report stage and third reading - followed second reading. During committee stage, members of the Lords considered changes to the bill.

Members discussed referendums on abortion and same-sex marriage, the preparation of a pension scheme for those regarded as having been seriously injured during the conflict in Northern Ireland and the delivery of a redress scheme  for victims of historic institutional child abuse.

Lord Duncan of Springbank (Conservative), parliamentary under-secretary in the Northern Ireland Office, responded on behalf on the government.

As both Houses have agreed on the text of the bill, it now awaits the final stage of Royal Assent when it will become an Act of Parliament (law).

Royal Assent is scheduled to take place on 1 November.

Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill summary

This bill will aim to:

  • extend the period provided in the Northern Ireland Act 1998 for Northern Ireland Ministers to be appointed until 26 March 2019
  • clarify the position of a Northern Ireland department officer in exercising a function during the period for forming an Executive
  • require the Secretary of State to provide guidance to Northern Ireland departments about the exercise of those functions
  • enable the Secretary of State and the Lord Chancellor to exercise certain appointment functions normally exercised by Northern Ireland Ministers
  • replace the requirement for UK Ministers to obtain the approval of Northern Ireland Ministers or the Executive Committee before exercising appointment functions with a requirement to consult the relevant department

Further information