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Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission etc.) Bill [HL]


Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission etc.) Bill [HL]

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A

Bill

To

Make provision in connection with the establishment under international law

of an independent commission with monitoring functions in relation to

Northern Ireland; to make further provision about exclusion from Ministerial

office in Northern Ireland; to make provision about reduction of remuneration

of members of the Northern Ireland Assembly; to make provision about

reduction of financial assistance under the Financial Assistance for Political

Parties Act (Northern Ireland) 2000; to make provision about censure

resolutions of the Northern Ireland Assembly; and for connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Monitoring Commission

 1     The Monitoring Commission

     (1)    In this Act, “the Monitoring Commission” means an independent organisation

established, by an agreement made in connection with the affairs of Northern

Ireland between Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom and the

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Government of Ireland, to carry out functions which include—

           (a)           monitoring activity by paramilitary groups,

           (b)           monitoring security normalisation, and

           (c)           reporting on claims relating to commitment to the observing of terms

of the pledge of office set out in Schedule 4 to the Northern Ireland Act

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1998 (c. 47).

     (2)    The Secretary of State may by order—

           (a)           confer on the Monitoring Commission the legal capacities of a body

corporate;

           (b)           confer on the Monitoring Commission, in such cases, to such extent and

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with such modifications as the order may specify, any of the privileges

 
HL Bill 10253/2
 
 

Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission etc.) Bill [HL]

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and immunities set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the International

Organisations Act 1968 (c. 48);

           (c)           confer on members and servants of the Monitoring Commission and

members of their families who form part of their households, in such

cases, to such extent and with such modifications as the order may

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specify, any of the privileges and immunities set out in Parts 2, 3 and 5

of that Schedule;

           (d)           make provision about the waiver of privileges and immunities.

     (3)    The reference in subsection (2)(c) to servants of the Monitoring Commission

includes agents of, and persons carrying out work for or giving advice to, the

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Monitoring Commission.

     (4)    An order under subsection (2)—

           (a)           may make different provision for different cases (including different

provision for different persons), and

           (b)           shall be made by statutory instrument which shall be subject to

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annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.

     (5)    The Secretary of State—

           (a)           may make payments to the Monitoring Commission or to members of

the Monitoring Commission, and

           (b)           may provide for the Monitoring Commission such premises and

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facilities, and the services of such staff, as he thinks appropriate.

 2     Commission’s duty to avoid prejudicial effects

     (1)    The Monitoring Commission shall not do anything in carrying out its functions

which might—

           (a)           prejudice the national security interests of the United Kingdom or

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Ireland,

           (b)           put at risk the safety or life of any person, or

           (c)           have a prejudicial effect on any present or future legal proceedings.

     (2)    The duty under subsection (1) is owed to Her Majesty’s Government in the

United Kingdom.

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 3     Laying of Commission reports before Parliament

Where a report of the Monitoring Commission, or a report made by members

of the Commission under the agreement establishing the Commission, is

delivered by the Commission, or by members of the Commission, to Her

Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, the Secretary of State shall lay

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a copy of the report before each House of Parliament.

Exclusion from Ministerial office

 4     Resolutions about exclusion

     (1)    Section 30 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (c. 47) (exclusion of Ministers from

office) is amended as follows.

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     (2)    In subsection (1) (exclusion of individual Minister), for “a period of twelve

months beginning with the date of the resolution” there is substituted “such

 

 

Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission etc.) Bill [HL]

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period of not less than three months, and not more than twelve months,

beginning with the date of the resolution as the resolution may provide”.

     (3)    After that subsection there is inserted—

           “(1A)              The Assembly may, before a period of exclusion under subsection (1)

comes to an end, by resolution extend it until the end of such period of

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not less than three months, and not more than twelve months,

beginning with the date of the resolution as the resolution may

provide.”

     (4)    In subsection (2) (exclusion of members of party from holding office as

Ministers or junior Ministers), for “a period of twelve months beginning with

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the date of the resolution” there is substituted “such period of not less than six

months, and not more than twelve months, beginning with the date of the

resolution as the resolution may provide”.

     (5)    For subsection (3) there is substituted—

           “(3)              The Assembly may, before a period of exclusion under subsection (2)

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comes to an end, by resolution extend it until the end of such period of

not less than six months, and not more than twelve months, beginning

with the date of the resolution as the resolution may provide.”

     (6)    In subsection (4) (ending exclusion), after “A period of exclusion” there is

inserted “under subsection (1) or (2)”.

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     (7)    For subsections (6) and (7) there is substituted—

           “(6)              If the Secretary of State is of the opinion that the Assembly ought to

consider a resolution under this section, he shall serve a notice on the

Presiding Officer requiring him to move a motion for such a resolution.

           (7)              In forming an opinion under subsection (6), the Secretary of State shall

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in particular take into account—

                  (a)                 whether the person or party concerned is committed to the use

now and in the future of only democratic and peaceful means to

achieve his or its objectives;

                  (b)                 whether he or it has ceased to be involved in any acts of violence

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or of preparation for violence;

                  (c)                 whether he or it is directing or promoting acts of violence by

other persons;

                  (d)                 whether he or it is co-operating fully with any Commission of

the kind referred to in section 7 of the Northern Ireland Arms

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Decommissioning Act 1997 (c. 7) in implementing the

Decommissioning section of the Belfast Agreement; and

                  (e)                 any recommendation about steps the Assembly might consider

taking which is contained in a report—

                        (i)                        made by the Commission mentioned in section 1 of the

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Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission) Act 2003, or

                        (ii)                       made under the agreement establishing that

Commission by members of that Commission.”

     (8)    At the end there is inserted—

           “(9)              In this section, a reference to a period of exclusion under any provision

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is, in the case of a period of exclusion under that provision which has

been extended, a reference to that period as extended.”

 

 

Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission etc.) Bill [HL]

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 5     Secretary of State’s powers in relation to exclusion

     (1)    After section 30 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (c. 47) there is inserted—

       “30A            Secretary of State’s powers in relation to exclusion

           (1)           This section applies if—

                  (a)                 the Monitoring Commission has, or members of that

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Commission have under the agreement establishing it, made a

report containing a recommendation about steps the Assembly

might consider taking;

                  (b)                 the taking of those steps by the Assembly requires the passing

by it of a resolution under section 30(1), (1A), (2) or (3) in

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relation to a Minister, junior Minister or political party; and

                  (c)                 the first motion for a resolution under that provision in relation

to the Minister, junior Minister or political party concerned that

is put to the vote after the making of the report does not attract

cross-community support.

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           (2)           Where this section applies because of the failure of a motion for a

resolution under section 30(1), the Secretary of State may by direction

exclude the Minister or junior Minister concerned from holding office

as a Minister or junior Minister for such period of not less than three

months, and not more than twelve months, beginning with the date of

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the direction as the direction may provide (subject to subsection (4)).

           (3)           Where this section applies because of the failure of a motion for a

resolution under section 30(1A), the Secretary of State may, before the

period of exclusion to which the motion related comes to an end, by

direction extend it until the end of such period of not less than three

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months, and not more than twelve months, beginning with the date of

the direction as the direction may provide (subject to subsection (4)).

           (4)           The Secretary of State may exercise the power under subsection (2) or

(3) only if he is satisfied that the Minister or junior Minister

concerned—

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                  (a)                 is not committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and

democratic means; or

                  (b)                 has failed to observe any other terms of the pledge of office.

           (5)           Where this section applies because of the failure of a motion for a

resolution under section 30(2), the Secretary of State may by direction

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exclude members of the political party concerned from holding office

as Ministers or junior Ministers for such period of not less than six

months, and not more than twelve months, beginning with the date of

the direction as the direction may provide (subject to subsection (7)).

           (6)           Where this section applies because of the failure of a motion for a

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resolution under section 30(3), the Secretary of State may, before the

period of exclusion to which the motion related comes to an end, by

direction extend it until the end of such period of not less than six

months, and not more than twelve months, beginning with the date of

the direction as the direction may provide (subject to subsection (7)).

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           (7)           The Secretary of State may exercise the power under subsection (5) or

(6) only if he is satisfied that the political party concerned—

 

 

Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission etc.) Bill [HL]

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                  (a)                 is not committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and

democratic means; or

                  (b)                 is not committed to such of its members as are or might become

Ministers or junior Ministers observing the other terms of the

pledge of office.

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           (8)           A period of exclusion under subsection (2) or (5) shall come to an end

if—

                  (a)                 the Secretary of State by direction so provides; or

                  (b)                 the Assembly is dissolved.

           (9)           In subsection (1)(a) “the Monitoring Commission” means the

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Commission mentioned in section 1 of the Northern Ireland

(Monitoring Commission) Act 2003.

           (10)          In this section, a reference to a period of exclusion under any provision

is, in the case of a period of exclusion under that provision which has

been extended, a reference to that period as extended.”

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     (2)    In section 18 of that Act (which provides for the filling of Ministerial offices), in

subsection (1) (occasions when offices are to be filled in accordance with the

section), for paragraph (d) there is substituted—

                  “(d)                    a direction which causes one or more Ministerial offices to

become vacant is given under section 30A(5);

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                  (da)                    a period of exclusion under section 30(2) or 30A(5) comes to an

end; or”.

     (3)    In subsection (12)(b) of that section (application of section where party

excluded under section 30(2)), after “party’s period of exclusion” there is

inserted “under that provision”.

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     (4)    In that section, after subsection (12) there is inserted—

           “(12A)              Where—

                  (a)                 the Secretary of State has given a direction under section 30A(5)

in respect of a political party; and

                  (b)                 the party’s period of exclusion under that provision has not

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come to an end,

                         the party shall be disregarded for the purposes of any application of

subsections (2) to (6).”

     (5)    At the end of that section there is inserted—

           “(14)              In this section, a reference to a period of exclusion under any provision

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is, in the case of a period of exclusion under that provision which has

been extended, a reference to that period as extended.”

     (6)    In section 30 of that Act (exclusion of Ministers from office by resolution of the

Assembly)—

           (a)           in subsection (1A) (power to extend period of exclusion under

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subsection (1)), after “subsection (1)” there is inserted “or section

30A(2)”, and

           (b)           in subsection (3) (power to extend period of exclusion under subsection

(2)), after “subsection (2)” there is inserted “or section 30A(5)”.

 

 

 
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