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Page 43, line 29, at end insert ("(other than property used for the purposes of the armed forces of the Crown or the Ministry of Defence Police)").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 223 not moved.]

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 224:

Page 43, line 34, leave out from ("relations,") to ("but") in line 35 and insert ("including relations with territories outside the United Kingdom, the European Communities (and their institutions) and other international organisations, and international development assistance and co-operation,").

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 224 modifies the list of matters at the beginning of paragraph 3 of Schedule 2 which are defined as being included in the exception for "international relations". Our original definition was based on the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973. Your Lordships may recognise that the new one is based on the definition in Schedule 5 to the Scotland Bill.

Amendment No. 226 alters the definitions of matters which are taken out of the international relations exception by virtue of paragraph 3(b) and (c) of Schedule 2. As it relates to North/South and East/West bodies, the amendment reflects earlier changes to the Bill; it also makes absolutely clear, as on reflection we think is necessary in drafting terms, that legislation concerning implementation bodies as envisaged in the agreement is not an excepted matter, which would take it outside the legislative competence of the Assembly.

The final part of the amendment again reflects a move towards the drafting of the Scotland Bill from the 1973 Act, making clear the Assembly's competence to legislate to observe international obligations, and those arising under the human rights convention and under Community law.

The first limb of Amendment No. 227, which stands in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Lester, is similar to the final part of our amendment, Amendment No. 226, so I can say that we accept that part of the amendment in principle and are grateful to the noble Lord. The second part of the noble Lord's amendment would remove from the exception assistance given to the Secretary of State by the devolved institutions in respect of the observance of international obligations and those arising under the ECHR or European Community law. We are again in sympathy with the principle but are advised that under the terms of our Bill this part of the amendment is unnecessary. According to our advice, no further provision is required to ensure that the Assembly will be able to confer and that Ministers and departments will be able to exercise functions which are exercisable in ways that assist the Crown in relation to international relations. I hope, therefore, that the noble Lord will feel it unnecessary to press his amendment.

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Amendment No. 225 was discussed previously along with a related amendment to Clause 1. On that occasion, the proposed amendment to Clause 1 was resisted on the proper grounds that it would have changed the agreed wording which had been set out in the Belfast agreement, but I undertook to reflect on the points made by noble Lords in respect of that amendment.

As noble Lords are aware, the Belfast agreement for the first time unites the British and Irish Governments in their recognition that the future constitutional status of Northern Ireland can be changed only with the consent of the people of Northern Ireland. This has also enabled the two governments to agree to address one another by their favoured titles for the first time; namely "the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" and the "Government of Ireland". These titles were set out in the British-Irish agreement which was sent to every house in Northern Ireland as an annex to the Belfast agreement. However, the Government have made it clear that, where appropriate, we shall still refer to the "Republic of Ireland" if that is necessary to avoid any misunderstanding about the geographical place which is being described.

Paragraph 3 of Schedule 2, which deals with the surrender of fugitive offenders, is one such case where it is important that there is no misunderstanding. It is in our view clear that that paragraph is intended to refer to the movement of offenders between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Nevertheless, in view of your Lordships' comments and for the avoidance of all possible doubt, I am glad to say that we propose to accept the noble Lord's amendment. That does not, of course, alter the understanding in relation to the titles of the two governments. I beg to move.

4 p.m.

Lord Molyneaux of Killead: I hope that the Minister will forgive me but I am not quite clear whether he was referring to taking on board the point made by my noble friends Lord Monson and Lord Cooke in their amendment, which relates to what he said about fugitive offenders. I am not in the business of snubbing the Irish Government, but the Minister explained at an earlier stage, and repeated it just now, that the terminology and the titles of the two sovereign states were reached by agreement as a kind of deal--I do not say an unworthy one--in the drafting of the agreement.

However, were the Irish Government consulted about the contradiction in the line in the schedule that my noble friends are attempting to amend in which the term "Northern Ireland and Ireland" is used in the one sentence? As the Minister will know, the constitution of the Republic of Ireland lays claim to the whole island of Ireland and, therefore, it is difficult to understand how either Government can condone such a contradiction.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: When we were debating an earlier amendment on the first day of the Committee stage I made it clear that I support Amendment No. 225.

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As the Minister said, it is necessary in order to make paragraph 3(a) of the schedule clear. I accept what the Minister has said about the other amendments.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill: We strongly support Amendment No. 226. I am most grateful for that large crumb which has fallen from the table. I am also most grateful that the spirit of our amendment has been accepted. The great advantage of it--and I shall be corrected if I am wrong--is that it means that under Schedule 2 the obligations contained, for example, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in the various discrimination conventions will all be excepted matters in so far as they are international obligations. On that basis, we will not find it necessary to move Amendment No. 227.

Lord Holme of Cheltenham: I have one comment to make about Amendment No. 224. We believe that the change in wording is appropriate as all the items specified are part of Westminster's responsibilities on behalf of the UK as a whole. However, there appears to me to be a drafting error. Perhaps I have read it wrongly, but it seems to me that the amendment deletes the penultimate word "but" which is needed to make sense of the exceptions that follow. As I said, it is only a drafting point. Nevertheless, I should be grateful if the Minister could confirm whether I am right or wrong in that respect.

Lord Dubs: I do not think that I can comment instantly on that point. I shall have to think about it. However, in the meantime, I shall deal with the question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Molyneaux. The answer is yes. The Irish Government were consulted and they expressed their agreement with the approach indicated where any doubt arises. Therefore, I do not believe that there is any disagreement between this Government and the Irish Government on that point.

I turn now to the comment made by the noble Lord, Lord Lester. I should point out that Amendment No. 226 makes it clear that implementation of such international obligations is a transferred matter.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill: I am grateful to the Minister. However, I take it that the Government will remain responsible with their override powers if the international treaty obligations are breached by the Assembly.

Lord Dubs: Yes, that is correct. As I indicated earlier, the Secretary of State has such a power and it is set out in the Bill.

Lord Holme of Cheltenham: Before we vote on the amendment, I should be grateful to know whether I am wrong in thinking that Amendment No. 224 will delete the word "but", which is required to make sense of the wording.

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Lord Dubs: I am advised that the noble Lord is not right and that the word "but" remains in the way that the amendment has been drafted. That is the advice I have just received. It is difficult for me to go into more detail here and now, but that is my present advice.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Cope of Berkeley moved Amendment No. 225:

Page 43, line 36, after ("and") insert ("the Republic of").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 226:

Page 43, line 38, leave out from ("arrangement") to end of line 45 and insert ("entered into--
("(i) by a person participating, by reason of a nomination under section (North-South Ministerial Council and British-Irish Council), in a meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council or the British-Irish Council; or
(ii) by, or in relation to the activities of, any body established for implementing, on the basis mentioned in paragraph 11 of Strand Two of the Belfast Agreement, policies agreed in the North-South Ministerial Council;
(c) observing and implementing international obligations, obligations under the Human Rights Convention and obligations under Community law.
In this paragraph "the Human Rights Convention" means the following as they have effect for the time being in relation to the United Kingdom--
(a) the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, agreed by the Council of Europe at Rome on 4th November 1950; and
(b) any Protocols to that Convention which have been ratified by the United Kingdom.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 227 not moved.]

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