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Petition of Concern Mechanism: Third Report

Volume 699: debated on Monday 19 July 2021

I am laying before both Houses of Parliament the third report by the UK Government on the use of the petition of concern mechanism in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

As part of the New Decade, New Approach deal upon which devolved government was restored in Northern Ireland on 11 January 2020, the UK Government committed to undertaking such a report every six months.

This report covers the period from 12 January 2021 to 11 July 2021, during which no petition of concern has been lodged against any motion in the Assembly.

The fact that there have been no uses of the Petitions of Concern since the restoration of the political institutions is a positive reflection of the conduct of business within the Assembly. However, I want to take this opportunity to reinforce the importance of a stable, mature, functioning Executive and Assembly that is focused on addressing the issues that really matter to their daily lives.

The next UK Government report on the use of the Petition of Concern will cover the period from 12 July 2021 to 11 January 2022.

The UK Government are standing by their commitment to bring forward legislation that provides the necessary reforms to the petition of concern mechanism. The Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill has reached the Commons Report stage in its passage through Parliament. Once this legislation has completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent, it is crucial that the Assembly reflects the detail of these reforms in its Standing Orders to ensure the full implementation of these aspects of the New Decade, New Approach deal.