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Lord Cooke of Islandreagh: Surely it is very simple. This Bill is in error. Ireland, when referred to, means the island of Ireland. There is no such thing at present as the government of the island of Ireland. Ireland cannot therefore be referred to as having a government. I believe that the amendment corrects mistakes of drafting.

The Earl of Balfour: I did not think I would hear in your Lordships' House so many varied descriptions of the southern part of Ireland. If the amendment as drafted is not acceptable--and I think there should be a correct definition of the Government of the Republic of Ireland--can I suggest "the Republican Government of Ireland?" That at least would cover it another way.

Legislation must give the correct name. From what I have heard, I am not satisfied that the words as used in the Bill, "the Government of Ireland", correctly describe that independent country.

4 p.m.

Lord Dubs: Amendment No. 2 would substitute the words "Government of the Republic of Ireland" for "Government of Ireland" in Clause 1(2). This language was part of the agreement itself, and on that basis alone I would not favour changing it. But in any event, it actually represents the welcome disappearance of one small but significant difference in practice between the British and Irish Governments that the resolution of the consent question in the agreement has made possible. Hitherto, the Irish Government have referred to themselves, and generally been referred to in international circles, as the "Government of Ireland". We, however, have called them "Government of the Republic of Ireland". Similarly, while the proper name of this state is the "Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", the Irish have used solely the name "Government of the United Kingdom".

With the agreement we have aligned our practice. We will call them by the name they favour, and they will use the name for us that we favour. Since the constitutional status of Northern Ireland is no longer a matter of disagreement between us, we can put an end to the argument about names. The agreed terminology appears at the head of the international agreement that is annexed to the Good Friday agreement between the parties. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Monson, will not press the amendment.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: Perhaps before the Minister sits down he will address Amendment No. 225, which is different. He cannot rely on the argument that it is

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built into the agreement. A draft clause in the agreement supports his contention as regards Amendment No. 2, but not Amendment No. 225.

Lord Dubs: I believe that the point at issue in Amendment No. 225 is the same and I would use the same arguments against it. I did not respond to the comments made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew. I believe that it was simply a mistake in the Notes on Clauses--there can be no other explanation. I congratulate the noble and learned Lord on his diligence and on having unearthed the point, but it was a mistake.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: I return to Amendment No. 225. It relates to the surrender of fugitive offenders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It does not refer to the Governments; it does not refer to the Government of the United Kingdom or the Government of Ireland. It refers to two places; one place called Northern Ireland and another place called, in the Bill, Ireland. A different case is being made out for Amendment No. 225 from Amendment No. 2.

As regards Amendment No. 2, I accept that the Minister and the rest of us, to a degree, are stuck with the words which appear in it and which were in a draft clause. However, as regards the amendment to Schedule 2, it does not refer to the Governments but to two places: Northern Ireland and, my contention and that of the noble Lord, Lord Monson, the Republic of Ireland.

Lord Dubs: I understand the point that the noble Lord makes, but I still believe that it would cause confusion rather than clarification if we pursued his argument. I do not believe that there is any ambiguity, but I will consider the points that have been made.

Lord Monson: I am grateful to the noble Lords, Lord Cope, Lord Holme of Cheltenham and Lord Fitt, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew, the noble Earl, Lord Balfour, and my noble friend Lord Molyneaux for their support. They all supported the amendment from different angles and all gave different but equally persuasive reasons why the matter ought to be looked at again.

I accept that the word "Ireland" was used in the Good Friday agreement. However, as I maintained in my opening remarks, I do not believe that what was agreed on Good Friday can have any bearing on the wording of an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament. It does not contradict or go against the agreement in any way.

If one looks up Ireland in any year book, one will see that it is subtitled "the Republic of Ireland", the equivalent being given in Irish. If one is talking about France in a philosophical context, for example, one refers to La France. On the other hand, if one is talking about France in a legal context one talks about La Republique Francaise. That is what appears on stamps and coins. The same principle should apply here.

In view of the large level of support that I have received, I may well return to the matter on Report. However, in the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 3 not moved.]

Clause 1 agreed to.

Clause 2 agreed to.

Clause 3 [Devolution order]:

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 4:

Page 1, line 18, at beginning insert ("Subject to section 83(4) to (6) of this Act,").

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No. 4, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 215 and 219. The purpose of the amendments is to ensure that the changes to the United Kingdom constitution march stride by stride with the comparable changes to the constitution of the Republic of Ireland. That is the intention of the Belfast agreement. It was made clear in the agreement and has since been made clear time and again by Ministers and others. Most recently, the United Kingdom Parliament and the parliament of the Republic of Ireland sat on the same day during the Recess to pass the emergency legislation following the Omagh bomb. A great deal was made in this House and elsewhere of the two Parliaments moving ahead on the same day. It was held to be symbolic--and it was symbolic--that the two Parliaments moved together. Indeed, so far as we were concerned the whole event was symbolic because the powers granted in the Bill have not been used and the case then made out for the urgency in passing them has evaporated slightly. But that comes as no surprise to those who heard the debates in this House, which made clear that the powers were of that character.

Ministers have constantly talked about all parts of the process moving together. The Bill makes a fundamental change to the constitution of the United Kingdom and it should move with the fundamental changes to the constitution of the Republic of Ireland. I understand that the necessary legal moves have been made within the Republic, in particular the holding of the referendum, so that the change to the constitution of the Republic will be triggered automatically by the exchange of agreements which take place in accordance with the last part of the Belfast agreement. I refer to the agreements signed by both Governments under the names they respectively go by, which appear in the final pages of the Belfast agreement. It provides that the amendments are to be made in the two jurisdictions and that such legislation shall have been enacted as may be required to establish the institutions referred to in Article 2; they are the North/South Ministerial Council, the British-Irish Council and the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. Once those have moved forward, each Government will notify the other in writing of the completion of the requirements for entry into force of the agreement, and it then automatically enters into force.

On reflection, my amendment may have been drafted a little too widely because some parts of the Bill need to move forward before the constitutional changes can take place in either jurisdiction. The point I was addressing in these amendments is that I believe the changes to be made to our constitution should not come into force except at the same time as that of the Republic of Ireland. I am not seeking to make it a pre-condition.

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I think we should move together. My amendments do not say that this cannot come into place until the Irish changes are in place; they say that these changes cannot "come into force" they say before they come into force in the Irish legislation, and that specifically leaves open the prospect of them both coming into force together. That is what I would like to achieve. Perhaps Amendment No. 4 should be drawn a little more narrowly to make it clear that I am only going for the constitutional changes in the first clauses of the Bill. That is the purpose that lies behind this amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead: I would support this amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Cope, because on Good Friday, and since then, much has been made of the principle of reciprocity between the two governments as a principle binding on the two governments, on the political parties and on the terrorist organisations. Apart from the two governments, I think it is correct to say that none of the others signed the agreement. They may have assented, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, but we are entitled to call in aid our old friend of long standing, "Solomon Binding". I am in full support of the principle of the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Cope, perhaps with some very minor refinements made at Report stage.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Holme of Cheltenham: I think it will be interesting, when the Minister replies--and it would reflect upon my own attitude towards this amendment--if he were to give us some sense of progress in the Irish Republic as regards their obligations. When we are trying to move as it probably is not quite enough we did on security matters, closely in step and reciprocally, to say: "That is up to them". I think it would be of great interest to Members of the Committee to hear what their projected timetable is.

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