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Northern Ireland Assembly

Volume 702: debated on Wednesday 27 October 2021

I continue to work closely with the whole of the Executive and the political party leaders on the issues that matter most to the people of Northern Ireland. Obviously, the promise of the Belfast/Good Friday agreement for devolved government locally accountable to the people of Northern Ireland must never be forgotten and is hugely important in making sure we deliver on the promise of a stable and genuinely co-operative Executive, built on respectful relationships and trust. That is where stability comes from and that is what I hope to see continue in Northern Ireland.

Threats to collapse the Assembly hang over Northern Ireland and the Secretary of State is sleepwalking towards a political crisis. Key safeguards have still not reached the statute book 22 months on. Northern Ireland simply cannot afford this, so will the Secretary of State fast track the legislation through the House of Lords and commit to passing it in the coming weeks so there is at least a caretaker Executive in place?

It was disappointing in the summer when one of the political parties tried to bring down Stormont with various threats about what it was going to do. At the moment it is important that we see stability at Stormont. We had the legislation yesterday in the Chamber and I am sad the hon. Lady was unable to join us on something she clearly cares about. It is important that we see stability there, working with all the parties and making sure they are delivering on what the people of Northern Ireland care about. That has to be the main focus and the legislation going through the House at the moment will help with that, but the way we keep stability at Stormont is around not legislation in Westminster but the political parties at Stormont focusing on working together to reform education, healthcare and the other issues that matter for the people in Northern Ireland.