Live Northern Ireland Questions House of Commons


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Live Northern Ireland Questions

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to the Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley and her team of ministers.


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of State for Northern Ireland and I

have one of the questions here. The

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first is about donations to

political parties and we can go over

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to see that now.

Question one, Mr

Speaker.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. The

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recent publication by the electoral

committee of commissions alone state

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for Northern Ireland parties is a

positive step that should be

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welcomed by the whole house. The

decision to back the transparency

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was taken on the basis of broad

support for the majority of

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political parties in Northern

Ireland.

Mr Speaker, it has been

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recently revealed that a portion of

the largest ever political donation

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given to a party in Northern Ireland

was spent on services linked to

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Cambridge and all of the car. On the

basis of this, should transparency

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not be backdated to 2014 so we can

have full disclosure of where that

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cash came from?

As I say, the

decision to back dated July 2017 and

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was taken to the broad support of

the majority of parties in Northern

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Ireland, my predecessor did take

time to consult with the parties in

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July 2017 was the days they wish to

start the transparency from.

I think

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my right honourable friend the

Secretary of State has already

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answered the question I was asked to

ask which was where all the parties

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actually agreeing not to take it

back to 2014?

As I say, my

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predecessor consulted with all the

parties and this was the position

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that was supported by the broad

majority of parties.

The Secretary

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of State will be able to confirm

that even if the regulations did go

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back to 2014, there is no

information that would be published

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that has not already been published.

Can the Secretary of State also

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confirmed the disparity when there

is no mention in this chamber or

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elsewhere of the dark money received

by Northern Ireland parties from

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foreign jurisdictions? This is the

only place that it is allowed to

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occur and it should stop.

Mr

Speaker, I firmly believe that

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transparency is the important thing

that we have here that we should all

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know where money is coming from and

I understand the honourable

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gentleman's comments.

I'm really

very interested to hear the

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explanation from the Secretary of

State why the Northern Ireland

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Office deliberately, wilfully

ignored the advice and

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recommendations of the Electoral

Commission 's that the publication

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of donations to political parties

should be backdated to 2014 and

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2017.

There was no wilful ignoring

or anything else. My predecessor

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consulted with all the parties in

Northern Ireland and was support for

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July 20 17.

We know about one

questionable donation that was

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channelled from Scotland to the DUP

to be used in the Brexit referendum.

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People are quite rightly asking what

the original source of that money

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was and whether there are others

that we don't know about. Is the

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Secretary of State will not consider

revising the recent decision to

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limit transparency and get it back

to 2014, alternatively, was to bring

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forward legislation to allow

individual parties to instruct the

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Electoral Commission to reveal their

donation data?

As I have said, we

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are keen to ensure there is

transparency but the question she

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asks are a matter for political

parties in themselves, not a matter

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for the Government.

Letter number

two.

With permission, I will answer

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questions to and AIDS together. The

Secretary of State and I have

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regular conversations with the

Northern Ireland political parties

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on a range of issues. This includes

matters relating to the UK's

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departure from the European Union.

As we have said repeatedly, these

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conversations are no replacement for

a fully functioning, locally elected

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and democratically effective

executive. That is what Northern

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Ireland needs and that is what we

are focused on.

Does my right

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honourable friend agree with me that

as we leave the EU, it is essential

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that current levels of Security and

cooperation between the UK and

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Ireland which are so important in

the fight against terrorism are

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improved and enhanced. -- maintained

and enhanced.

I agree

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wholeheartedly. All parties have

been clear that there will not be

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any disruption to the north-south

security cooperation when it comes

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to policing and tackling the

terrorist threat. I applaud the

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incredible work done by the Police

Service of Northern Ireland and the

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gardai to keep us safe. That will

not change after the EU exit.

Will

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he reassure the House that as the

UK, including Northern Ireland leave

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the EU, this hasGovernment's

commitment to the Belfast agreement

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remained steadfast?

I can

categorically provide this

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commitment. Our negotiation strategy

puts the Belfast agreement at the

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heart of our approach. As the Prime

Minister and others have said, we

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will continue to abide by the UK's

commitments in the Belfast

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agreement.

Given the meeting that

was held on Monday between the

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Secretary of State for Exiting the

European Union and Michel Barnier,

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can the Minister at the NIA all

confirmed that it remains the

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Government's clear position that the

backstop arrangements, so-called, as

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proposed by the European Commission

is something that no British Prime

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Minister or Government could ever

agree to?

May I just say to the

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honourable gentleman that the Prime

Minister has made her views

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absolutely clear on that. The

economic and cause additional

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integrity of our country will not be

harmed.

The Minister, because it is

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a notion that as a result of the

transitional arrangements that

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somehow the Government has reneged

on that particular pledge and it

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remains a firm commitment of the

Government to the constitutional and

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political and economic integrity of

the United Kingdom and as we move

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forward, will he ensure that

industries like the fishing industry

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in Northern Ireland will be

protected going forward after we

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leave the EU and that we ensure we

take back control of our territorial

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waters, including our rights for

fishermen?

The gentleman makes some

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good points. I can confirm that the

agreement that was released in

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December in the joint report, they

still remain and certainly Britain

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will be doing all it can possibly do

to ensure that all our industries,

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particularly fisheries, I maintained

and that our fishermen are well

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looked after as well as the

industry.

I'm sure one of the issues

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that the Minister and Secretary of

State will have discussed with the

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political parties in Northern

Ireland is the problem is that they

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see with the hard border returning

in Ireland. What are those problems

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and what does the ministers suggest

we do to avoid them?

The Prime

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Minister and the Secretary of State

and many others have made it

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absolutely clear there will be no

hard border.

That's not much of an

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answer, Mr Speaker, and I think the

Government should be acknowledging

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that the parties all think that

there would be problems with a hard

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border, just as the Chief Secretary,

the Northern Ireland select

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committee, the Irish Government and

many on his own benches know there

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will be problems and should he not

therefore be acknowledging them and

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telling me how is that the only way

to avoid a hard border is for us to

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stay within the customs union and

the single market?

The people of

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Britain, England, Scotland, Northern

Ireland and Wales, collectively

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agreed to leave the single market,

to leave the customs union and that

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will be the case. As far as the

border is concerned, the joint

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report of December made it

absolutely clear there will be no

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physical infrastructures, no hard

border, a frictionless border and

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that is what is being negotiated and

disgust at present.

Number three,

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please, Mr Speaker.

I will answer

questions three, five, six and seven

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together. I regularly is big with

the Irish Government and we

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recognise the importance of trade

across the island of Ireland.

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Equally, Great Britain markets are

fundamentally important in Northern

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Ireland sales with some £14.6

billion as the Prime Minister

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reinforced in her Mansion House

speech, we are committed to

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protecting both of these vital

markets.

The Dail was told yesterday

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that there will be no formal

withdrawal agreement between the UK

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and the EU if the Irish border issue

is not resolved. The Minister has

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already said this morning that there

will be no hard border but can the

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Secretary of State explain to us how

that process will come about?

Mr

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Speaker, I don't think the

honourable lady has said anything

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that is news to anybody. We are

committed to the agreement is that

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we made in the joint report. We are

committed to the Belfast agreement

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and all that that stands for and we

will ensure that there is no new

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physical infrastructure at the

border and that there is

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frictionless trade.

Simon Coverley

also told the Dail yesterday that

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the UK Government had provided a

cast-iron guarantee that will ensure

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no physical infrastructure, checks

or controls at the Gordon -- border

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post Brexit. Can the Secretary of

State confirmed as?

I think I have

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just answered that question. There

will be frictionless trade,

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frictionless movement at the border

and no new physical infrastructure.

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Last week, the Prime Minister spoke

favourably about the Smart border

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two point report. Yesterday, in

evidence to the Brexit committee, it

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was confirmed that the report was

not tailored to the needs of Ireland

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and was incompatible with the

December agreement that there should

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be no hard border. Can the

Government confirmed that this

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report will not form the basis of

any future negotiations on

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agreements with the European Union.

I am not familiar with that

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particular report. I will look into

it.

Yesterday, the Irish Foreign

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Minister suggested that the EU that

UK transition agreement could be

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extended beyond 2020 if better

reasons were not in place for the

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Irish border. Can I ask, do the

problems with dealing with the

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border mean that the UK could stay

in the single market, the customs

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union and the Common fisheries

policy for longer than 2020 and be

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there without any say?

Mr Speaker, I

presume the honourable gentleman

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wrote the question before the

announcement in Brussels between

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Michel Barnier and my honourable

friend the Secretary of State free

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exiting the European Union. The

transitional arrangements will end

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in December 20 20. The United

Kingdom voted to leave the European

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Union. This means leaving the single

market and the customs union. That

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is what we will do.

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I am sure that my right honourable

friend have every sympathy with the

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Irish Government, they didn't want

Brexit, and there are lots of

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indications violent and no upside.

Will they press on in Dublin

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nevertheless that the option put

forward in the draft withdrawal

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agreement is wholly unacceptable,

and that they should work with us to

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ensure that option one goes forward.

Mr Speaker, both the UK Government

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and the Irish Government has stated

that we would like to address the

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issue of the Irish border through

the overall EU relationship as set

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out by often one in a joint report.

I thank my right honourable friend

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for her answers. Clearly it is in

the interest of both Northern

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Ireland and the republic that there

is a com of free trade deal between

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the United Kingdom and the Umax. --

European Union.

Mr Speaker, I think

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the way that I would sum it up is

that this is either a win-win or a

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lose - lose. There isn't a win -

lose option, and the other side

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wins. We all benefit if we get the

free-trade arrangements and the

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border issue sorted.

Do you share my

confidence that we will get a

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satisfactory solution to such trade

issues and negotiations after and

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ready for when we leave the eu.

Mr

Speaker, I share the optimism about

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this. I believe that we can

negotiate a deal that works for all

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sides.

Mr Speaker, do you think it

would be a good idea to think that

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to get our colicky Brexit secretary

and Michel Barnier, -- our colleague

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and Brexit secretary and Michel

Barnier to debunk this nonsense and

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myth of a hard border which would be

a relevant and impossible to

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enforce.

Mr Speaker, the noble

gentleman makes it very good point.

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They're wrong war crossing point in

a 310 miles of land border between

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the Northern Ireland and the

Republic of Ireland stand out are on

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the whole of the Eastern land border

on the whole of the European Union,

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but without the non-member states,

but I think you should be reassured

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that both Mr Barnier who was working

at the time of the Belfast

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agreement, and my right honourable

friend be Secretary of State by the

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European Union are very familiar

with that border.

90 very much

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indeed, Mr Speaker. Now that spring

has come and there is a lightness

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and warmth in the air, maybe Equinox

optimism extends to all politicians

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in Northern Ireland but, the

Secretary of State is as I know well

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aware of the important role of the

British, Irish intergovernmental

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conference, and it's played during

the particular period of direct

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rule, where there were a team

meetings of June 1999 and 2007. And

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with no devolution and the horrors

of Brexit moving any larger, what

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plans have you got to reconvene at

that conference when and where?

It

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seems ironic that on the day whether

12 hours exactly of daylight, we

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have scheduled 12 hours programme to

debate the legislation later. It may

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well not be enough. Depends what the

shadow set years to field. I do

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discuss regularly with the dominant

issues about our commitments to the

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Belfast agreement, and I continue to

reflect on those matters.

I am

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disappointed that there was a less

than fully attentive audience to the

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thespian gentleman, but there are

always other occasions on which

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people can listen more closely.

Well, another time. On summer

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evenings that lie ahead.

How do you

follow that, Mr Speaker? Number

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four.

I'm not even going to try. Mr

Speaker, this Government is

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committed to building a stronger

economy fit to the future and right

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across the United Kingdom. That is

clear from our industrial strategy

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and from the spring statement where

we continue to identify further

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opportunities for investment in

Northern Ireland. Ultimately,

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though, a he requirement in both is

political stability. That is why it

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is essential that the restored

executive is in place to take

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forward strategic decisions and

deliver Northern Ireland's economy.

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TATO not only has operations but

also in Northern Ireland. What's

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that is my honourable friend taking

to make sure that these UK wide

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manufacturing injury histories --

industries continue to grow and

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prosper.

It is one of the many

success stories for growth. For our

0:16:310:16:45

industrial strategy, we are creating

conditions were successful

0:16:450:16:49

businesses such as the TATO group,

can thrive, helping them to invest

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in the future are, Nato -- our

future. As we leave the year and

0:16:530:17:04

develop new trade relationships.

Mr

Speaker, the Institute of excellence

0:17:040:17:13

has said that if Northern Ireland

isn't in the single market or the

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customs union, they will face three

15 million in codes. How many tens

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of thousands of administrative

Northern Ireland need to continue

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current straight, let alone expand

it.

I can rebut pessimistic aims

0:17:270:17:35

with fact. There are 66,000 more

jobs now than in 2010, and 15,000 of

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those jobs were in the last year,

and since 2010, we have 12,300 new

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businesses.

When we leave the EU,

this house will no longer be

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prohibited from reducing the rate of

corporation tax for Northern

0:17:580:18:01

Ireland. Is it a step that the

minister would consider taking?

What

0:18:010:18:09

I say to my honourable friend, is

that we are very much hoping that

0:18:090:18:12

the devolved assembly would be up

and running because it is for them

0:18:120:18:16

to actually take on the decision of

reducing corporation tax, and we are

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very committed for them to do that

on the basis that they can show

0:18:200:18:23

sustainable finances.

Thank you, Mr

Speaker. Despite the ongoing

0:18:230:18:30

political situation in Northern

Ireland, Northern Ireland had in

0:18:300:18:33

fact had a very positive business

environment this year, particularly

0:18:330:18:37

in relation to foreign direct

investment. Would the Minister

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consider establishing a formal and

regular business forum to include

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invest NI, business organisations

and local businesses in at Northern

0:18:470:18:51

Ireland to insure that you maximise

the opportunities arising from the

0:18:510:18:56

UK leaving the eu.

The honourable

lady make a very good point. I have

0:18:560:19:00

just been given the assurance that

by the right honourable friend that

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she would be happy to participate in

this adventure.

With policing is a

0:19:060:19:20

devolved matter and should be

continued at storm on. Both the

0:19:200:19:30

Secretary of State and I have met

with the Chief Constable to the

0:19:300:19:37

scuffed issues. They do this superb

job and always have the full support

0:19:370:19:41

of this Government. We have

estimated that a £32 million a year

0:19:410:19:46

will be required to support the

response to Northern Ireland related

0:19:460:19:52

terrorism.

Bearing in mind that the

potential overtime bill for the P N

0:19:520:19:58

S I could be 48 million, with its be

better to have a recruitment policy,

0:19:580:20:03

more feet in the ground, and not

just the overtime bill to ensure

0:20:030:20:07

that the police officers are not put

down having to work overtime? Would

0:20:070:20:14

you consider that?

The honourable

gentleman makes a good point, but he

0:20:140:20:17

will of course be aware that the PS

NI operational matter, as far as

0:20:170:20:23

starting them, is very much a matter

for the Chief Constable to deal

0:20:230:20:28

with, and it is something that I

hope he is taking on board to deal

0:20:280:20:32

with the what the honourable

gentleman has said.

Thank you Mr

0:20:320:20:35

Speaker, question ten. Mr Speaker,

there is ongoing positive engagement

0:20:350:20:41

between UK Government officials and

the Northern Ireland Irish civil

0:20:410:20:45

service to ensure that...

At the

moment, children from Northern

0:20:450:20:55

Ireland can access emergency heart

surgery in Dublin, cancer patients

0:20:550:20:59

from the Republic have treatment in

Derry, ambulances crossed the border

0:20:590:21:03

to attend emergencies. Canny

Secretary of State give a guarantee

0:21:030:21:07

that that will continue Brexit?

The

Speaker, I visited the hospital in

0:21:070:21:13

Derry and sulphur myself the

treatment that patients from the

0:21:130:21:16

Republic of Ireland and -- saw for

myself the treatment that patients

0:21:160:21:20

receive. About a third of the

patients in Derry come from the

0:21:200:21:25

Republic. It is essential, as agreed

in the joint report in December that

0:21:250:21:30

we do maintain that situation.

There

is a considerable --

there is a

0:21:300:21:37

considerable hubbub in the chamber,

which is arguably unfair.

Thank you,

0:21:370:21:49

Mr Speaker. The Secretary of State

will be aware of the European health

0:21:490:21:52

cards systems will stop does the

Secretary of State envisaged that

0:21:520:21:58

continuing, or some other

arrangement whenever we leave the

0:21:580:22:02

European Union?

Mr Speaker, the

honourable gentleman will be pleased

0:22:020:22:05

to know that that was one of the

early after that was settled as part

0:22:050:22:09

of the European Union, and my right

honourable friend, the Secretary of

0:22:090:22:14

State for Exiting the European Union

was able to ensure that that would

0:22:140:22:17

continue.

Thank you Mr Speaker. The

Government is committed to improving

0:22:170:22:25

the welfare of all animals. Weak

speced animals across the UK to be

0:22:250:22:30

transported in conditions that

comply fully with welfare

0:22:300:22:33

requirements. We would prefer

animals across the UK to be

0:22:330:22:37

slaughtered close to the point of

production. Animal welfare is a

0:22:370:22:40

devolved matter in Northern Ireland,

it would be for a future Northern

0:22:400:22:44

Ireland executive to determine its

own policy.

As we leave the European

0:22:440:22:48

Union, can I seek insurances that in

Northern Ireland as well as in the

0:22:480:22:54

rest of the UK, we will use the

opportunity to enhance animal

0:22:540:22:58

welfare standards?

This is bigger,

my honourable friend makes a very

0:22:580:23:03

good point. The Government shares

the public's high regard for animal

0:23:030:23:07

welfare. We are proud to have some

of the highest animal welfare

0:23:070:23:11

standards in the world, but my

liberal friends will appreciate that

0:23:110:23:13

and animal welfare is a devolved

matter in Northern Ireland,... We

0:23:130:23:22

have been clear that if we leave the

EU -- when we leave the EU, we will

0:23:220:23:29

look to strengthen those

requirements where possible.

Thank

0:23:290:23:32

you, Mr Speaker. As the minister had

said, Northern Ireland has very high

0:23:320:23:37

animal welfare standards, and surely

we can do better than what the EU

0:23:370:23:40

offers in terms of animal welfare

standards.

Mr Speaker, it is our

0:23:400:23:47

intention that we would not only

stay at the same level, but actually

0:23:470:23:51

continue to improve our levels of

animal welfare.

0:23:510:24:03

It's nice to be welcomed so lovely,

isn't it?

Is it possible to hear the

0:24:060:24:13

Secretary of State? She didn't

realise just how popular she was,

0:24:130:24:15

but now she knows.

I set out the

Dollman's approached was restoring

0:24:150:24:23

devolved Government in the 12 of

March. As I said then, we are

0:24:230:24:28

determined to see devolved

Government re-established. We

0:24:280:24:30

continue to work with all Northern

Irish parties and the Government.

0:24:300:24:41

What progress has she made in

involving assembly members in

0:24:410:24:44

Northern Ireland in scrutiny Woods

Hassey had discussions with the

0:24:440:24:49

political parties and does she

expect them to be involved in

0:24:490:24:53

scrutiny of budget proposals

announced yesterday?

Mr Speaker,

0:24:530:24:57

specifically on the budget, I did

make sure that all the main

0:24:570:25:02

political parties had sight of the

budget before I announced it,

0:25:020:25:05

because I do hope sincerely that

they will be the parties that

0:25:050:25:09

deliver that budget. He will also

know from my statement on the draft

0:25:090:25:13

of March that I will have had a

number of representations and

0:25:130:25:17

continue to receive suggestions for

how we may end up getting some form

0:25:170:25:21

of working instalment, and then

considering all of those approaches.

0:25:210:25:24

Mr Speaker, so long as Sinn Fein

refused to enter the store Mont --

0:25:240:25:33

storm assembly, there is little

chance of restoring devolved

0:25:330:25:44

Government, and that she'll must

look at ways of ensuring that

0:25:440:25:47

Northern Ireland is governed

properly in the meantime.

This is

0:25:470:25:51

because, as I have said, there have

been a number of suggestions and

0:25:510:25:55

representations made to me about

what the next that might be. I am

0:25:550:26:00

considering all of those

representations and all of those

0:26:000:26:02

suggestions. I am looking for what

we can do to ensure that we do get

0:26:020:26:05

something that exist back on the

steps towards having fully restored

0:26:050:26:10

devolved Government.

0:26:100:26:20

The Government is continuing to work

towards the restoration of devolved

0:26:230:26:27

Government in Northern Ireland, for

precisely this reason.

There is

0:26:270:26:31

still too much noise in the chamber.

That hear the voice of Vauxhall.

I

0:26:310:26:38

am afraid that is written not good

enough. This is a hugely important

0:26:380:26:42

sporting event that Northern Ireland

has won the right to host, the

0:26:420:26:47

Secretary of State must make these

decisions. We cannot wait until we

0:26:470:26:51

get another executive, it could be a

very long time, this decision must

0:26:510:26:55

be made and the Secretary of State

must actually show that she is in

0:26:550:26:59

charge.

Mr Speaker, I feel as if I

am answering questions in my

0:26:590:27:05

previous role as digital culture

media and is sport. My vision have

0:27:050:27:11

met the Northern Ireland

Commonwealth Games Council, to

0:27:110:27:14

discuss whether the option of

holding the 2021 games in Northern

0:27:140:27:18

Ireland could be sustained until

such time as the Bosman institutions

0:27:180:27:20

are restored.

In relation to

Northern Ireland, we are heavily

0:27:200:27:29

dependent on tourism, and adventures

of an -- event driven tourism.

0:27:290:27:38

Unfortunately, we do not agree that

we are getting a fair crack of the

0:27:380:27:42

whip when it comes to delivery from

the body involved.

Let's focus up on

0:27:420:27:51

the --

are you focus on the games?

He is quite right, the 2021 youth

0:27:510:27:56

games would bring tourists to your

then -- Northern Ireland. I have had

0:27:560:28:03

discussions about the issue of

tourism in Northern Ireland. I am

0:28:030:28:06

sure that he would welcome the

0:28:060:28:08