The Northern Ireland Assembly – often referred to as Stormont – has been restored this week after a deal between the DUP and Sinn Féin. Since 2017, the Assembly was without an Executive, as power-sharing between the two collapsed.
All five of Northern Ireland's main political parties accepted the deal as a basis to re-enter a devolved government.
Julian Smith MP: "a fair and balanced deal"
In a statement, the Northern Ireland Secretary, Julian Smith, told MPs that the UK Government "initiated as period of political talks" before Christmas to try and restore Stormont. The negotiations took nine months of negotiation and four weeks of "intensive discussions".
Mr Smith said that the document, New Decade, New Approach, sets out a "fair and balanced deal" based on discussions between the Government and other political parties. An Executive has been formed and ministers have been appointed.
Mr Smith then went on to say:
"I know the whole House will join me in welcoming and celebrating the return of devolved government and will join me in congratulating party leaders in their confident decision to make this happen."
Tony Lloyd MP: "it matters enormously"
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Tony Lloyd, thanked the Secretary of State for the work that he personally put in to make sure that we now have the restoration of Stormont.
Mr Lloyd went on to add that twenty-one years on since the Good Friday Agreement, many victims, and families of victims are still looking for justice in terms of what's happened to their loved ones, whether murdered by terrorists or by the forces of the crown.
Mr Lloyd said:
"We now have a functioning Executive, a functioning assembly once again in Northern Ireland. That matters enormously to the people of Northern Ireland, it matters enormously to the people of the whole of the United Kingdom, and of course the whole of the island of Ireland."
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