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Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill


Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill
Part 2 — Amendments of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 etc

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(b)   

may continue to exercise the functions of his office until

immediately before those offices are filled in accordance with

this section.

(3)   

Where the offices of the First Minister and the deputy First Minister

become vacant at any time, they shall be filled by applying subsections

5

(4) to (7) within a period of seven days beginning with that time.

(4)   

The nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest

political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be

the First Minister.

(5)   

The nominating officer of the largest political party of the second

10

largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly

to be the deputy First Minister.

(6)   

If the persons nominated do not take up office within a period specified

in standing orders, further nominations shall be made under

subsections (4) and (5).

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(7)   

Subsections (4) to (6) shall be applied as many times as may be

necessary to secure that the offices of First Minister and deputy First

Minister are filled.

(8)   

But no person may take up office as First Minister or deputy First

Minister under this section after the end of the period mentioned in

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subsection (3) (see further section 32(3)).

(9)   

The persons nominated under subsections (4) and (5) shall not take up

office until each of them has affirmed the terms of the pledge of office.

(10)   

This section shall be construed in accordance with, and is subject to,

section 16C.

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16C     

Sections 16A and 16B: supplementary

(1)   

In sections 16A and 16B and this section “nominating officer”, in

relation to a party, means—

(a)   

the person registered under Part 2 of the Political Parties,

Elections and Referendums Act 2000 as the party’s nominating

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officer; or

(b)   

a member of the Assembly nominated by him for the purposes

of this section.

(2)   

For the purposes of sections 16A and 16B and this section—

(a)   

the size of a political party is to be determined by reference to

35

the number of seats in the Assembly which were held by

members of the party on the day on which the Assembly first

met following its election; but

(b)   

if two or more parties are taken by virtue of paragraph (a) to be

of the same size, the respective sizes of those parties is to be

40

determined by reference to the number of first preference votes

cast for the parties at the last general election of members of the

Assembly;

   

(this is subject to subsections (7) and (8)).

 
 

Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill
Part 2 — Amendments of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 etc

9

 

(3)   

For the purposes of sections 16A and 16B and this section, a political

party to which one or more members of the Assembly belong is to be

taken—

(a)   

to be of the political designation “Nationalist” if, at the relevant

time (see subsection (11)), more than half of the members of the

5

Assembly who belonged to the party were designated

Nationalists;

(b)   

to be of the political designation “Unionist” if, at the relevant

time, more than half of the members of the Assembly who

belonged to the party were designated Unionists;

10

(c)   

otherwise, to be of the political designation “Other”.

(4)   

For the purposes of sections 16A and 16B and this section—

(a)   

the size of the political designation “Nationalist” is to be taken

to be equal to the number of members of the Assembly who, at

the relevant time, were designated Nationalists;

15

(b)   

the size of the political designation “Unionist” is to be taken to

be equal to the number of members of the Assembly who, at the

relevant time, were designated Unionists;

(c)   

the size of the political designation “Other” is to be taken to be

equal to the number of members of the Assembly who, at the

20

relevant time, were neither designated Nationalists nor

designated Unionists.

(5)   

But if two or more political designations are taken by virtue of

subsection (4) to be of the same size, the respective sizes of those

designations is to be determined by reference to the aggregate number

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of first preference votes cast, at the last general election of members of

the Assembly, for members of the Assembly who, at the relevant time,

were—

(a)   

designated Nationalists (in the case of the political designation

“Nationalist”);

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(b)   

designated Unionists (in the case of the political designation

“Unionist”); or

(c)   

neither designated Nationalists nor designated Unionists (in

the case of the political designation “Other”).

(6)   

If at any time the party which is the largest political party of the largest

35

political designation is not the largest political party—

(a)   

any nomination to be made at that time under section 16A(4) or

16B(4) shall instead be made by the nominating officer of the

largest political party; and

(b)   

any nomination to be made at that time under section 16A(5) or

40

16B(5) shall instead be made by the nominating officer of the

largest political party of the largest political designation.

(7)   

Where—

(a)   

the Assembly has resolved under section 30(2) that a political

party does not enjoy its confidence; and

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(b)   

the party’s period of exclusion (see subsection (12)) under that

provision has not come to an end,

   

subsection (2)(a) above shall have effect as if the number of seats in the

Assembly which were held by members of the party on the day on

which the Assembly first met following its election was nil.

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Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill
Part 2 — Amendments of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 etc

10

 

(8)   

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

come to an end,

5

   

subsection (2)(a) above shall have effect as if the number of seats in the

Assembly which were held by members of the party on the day on

which the Assembly first met following its election was nil.

(9)   

Where—

(a)   

a person nominated by the nominating officer of a political

10

party ceased to hold office as First Minister or deputy First

Minister as a result of a resolution of the Assembly under

section 30(2) or a direction of the Secretary of State under

section 30A(5); and

(b)   

the party’s period of exclusion under section 30(2) or 30A(5)

15

subsequently comes to an end otherwise than by virtue of the

dissolution of the Assembly,

   

the First Minister and the deputy First Minister shall cease to hold office

when the party’s period of exclusion under that provision comes to an

end (unless any period of exclusion of the party under the other

20

provision has not come to an end).

(10)   

But where a direction under section 30A(5) ceases to have effect under

section 95A(6) or (7), its so ceasing to have effect shall for the purposes

of subsection (9) be taken not to involve the coming to an end of a

period of exclusion under section 30A(5).

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(11)   

In this section “the relevant time” means the end of the day on which

the Assembly first met following its election.

(12)   

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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(13)   

Standing orders may make further provision in connection with the

making of nominations under sections 16A and 16B.

(14)   

In this Act “the pledge of office” means the pledge of office which,

together with the code of conduct to which it refers, is set out in

Schedule 4.”

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(2)   

Schedule 5 (executive selection: consequential amendments) has effect.

9       

Department with policing and justice functions: nomination etc of Ministers

Schedule 6 (department with policing and justice functions: nomination etc of

Ministers) has effect.

Committees

40

10      

Statutory committee for Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister

(1)   

Section 29 of the 1998 Act (statutory committees) is amended as follows.

 
 

Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill
Part 2 — Amendments of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 etc

11

 

(2)   

In subsection (1)(a), after “committees”)” insert—

“(i)   

to advise and assist the First Minister and the deputy

First Minister in the formulation of policy with respect

to matters within their responsibilities as Ministers

jointly in charge of the Office of the First Minister and

5

deputy First Minister, and

(ii)   

”.

(3)   

In subsection (6), for the words from “it is established” to the end of the

subsection substitute—

“(a)   

it is established to advise and assist the First Minister and the

10

deputy First Minister and either of those Ministers is a member

of his party; or

(b)   

it is established to advise and assist a Northern Ireland Minister

and that Minister is a member of his party.”

11      

Committee to review functioning of Assembly and Executive Committee

15

(1)   

After section 29 of the 1998 Act insert—

“29A    

Committee to review functioning of Assembly and Executive

Committee

(1)   

Standing orders shall make provision—

(a)   

for establishing a committee to examine such matters relating to

20

the functioning of the Assembly and the Executive Committee

as may be specified in the standing orders;

(b)   

in relation to the membership of the committee; and

(c)   

for regulating proceedings of the committee.

(2)   

Standing orders shall provide for the committee to make reports—

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(a)   

to the Assembly; and

(b)   

to the Executive Committee.

(3)   

The committee shall, by no later than 1 May 2015, make a report on the

operation of the provisions of Parts 3 and 4 of this Act—

(a)   

to the Secretary of State;

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(b)   

to the Assembly; and

(c)   

to the Executive Committee.

29B     

Review of operation of sections 16A to 16C

(1)   

Standing orders shall require the committee established by virtue of

section 29A to consider—

35

(a)   

the operation of sections 16A to 16C; and

(b)   

in particular, whether to recommend that the Secretary of State

should make an order amending this Act and any other

enactment so far as may be necessary to secure that they have

effect, as from the date of the election of the 2011 Assembly, as

40

if the executive selection amendments had not been made.

(2)   

In subsection (1)—

“the 2011 Assembly” means the Assembly due to be elected under

section 31 of this Act in 2011;

 
 

Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill
Part 2 — Amendments of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 etc

12

 

“the executive selection amendments” means the amendments

made by section 8 of, and paragraphs 1, 2(1) and (2) and 3 to 14

of Schedule 5 to, the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement)

Act 2006.”

(2)   

If, by no later than 1 February 2011—

5

(a)   

the committee established by virtue of section 29A of the 1998 Act

makes the recommendation set out in section 29B(1)(b) of that Act, and

(b)   

the committee’s recommendation is approved by the Northern Ireland

Assembly with cross-community support (within the meaning of that

Act),

10

   

the Secretary of State must by order made by statutory instrument amend that

Act and any other enactment so far as may be necessary to secure that they

have effect, as from the date of the election of the 2011 Assembly, as if the

executive selection amendments had not been made.

(3)   

In subsection (2)—

15

“the 2011 Assembly” means the Northern Ireland Assembly due to be

elected under section 31 of the 1998 Act in 2011;

“the executive selection amendments” means the amendments made by

section 8 of, and paragraphs 1, 2(1) and (2) and 3 to 14 of Schedule 5 to,

this Act.

20

(4)   

An order under this section may contain supplementary, incidental,

consequential, transitional or saving provision.

(5)   

A statutory instrument containing an order under this section shall be subject

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

NSMC and BIC

25

12      

North-South Ministerial Council and British-Irish Council

For section 52 of the 1998 Act substitute—

“52A    

North-South Ministerial Council and British-Irish Council

(1)   

The First Minister and the deputy First Minister acting jointly shall, as

far in advance of each meeting of the North-South Ministerial Council

30

or the British-Irish Council as is reasonably practicable, give to the

Executive Committee and to the Assembly the following information in

relation to the meeting—

(a)   

the date;

(b)   

the agenda; and

35

(c)   

(once determined under this section) the names of the Ministers

or junior Ministers who are to attend the meeting.

(2)   

Each Minister or junior Minister who has responsibility (whether or not

with another Minister or junior Minister) in relation to any matter

included in the agenda for a meeting of either Council (“appropriate

40

Minister”) shall be entitled—

(a)   

to attend the meeting; and

(b)   

to participate (see section 52C) in the meeting so far as it relates

to that matter.

 
 

Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill
Part 2 — Amendments of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 etc

13

 

(3)   

An appropriate Minister may nominate another Minister or junior

Minister—

(a)   

to attend the meeting in place of the appropriate Minister; and

(b)   

to participate in the meeting so far as it relates to matters for

which the appropriate Minister has responsibility,

5

   

but a person may not be nominated under this subsection without his

consent.

(4)   

Each appropriate Minister shall notify the First Minister and the deputy

First Minister, as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event no

later than 10 days before the date of the meeting, that—

10

(a)   

he intends to attend the meeting;

(b)   

he does not intend to attend the meeting but has nominated

another person under subsection (3) to attend in his place; or

(c)   

he does not intend to attend the meeting and he does not intend,

or has not been able, to make such a nomination,

15

   

and a notification under paragraph (b) shall include the name of the

person nominated.

(5)   

If the appropriate Minister gives a notification under subsection (4)(c)

(or if the First Minister and the deputy First Minister receive no

notification from him under subsection (4)), the First Minister and the

20

deputy First Minister acting jointly shall nominate a Minister or junior

Minister—

(a)   

to attend the meeting in place of the appropriate Minister; and

(b)   

to participate in the meeting so far as it relates to matters for

which the appropriate Minister has responsibility.

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(6)   

In relation to a matter for which the First Minister and the deputy First

Minister are the appropriate Ministers—

(a)   

the notification to be made by each of them under subsection (4)

shall be made to the other; and

(b)   

if either of them (“A”) gives a notification under subsection

30

(4)(c) (or if the other (“B”) receives no notification from A under

subsection (4)), B (acting alone) shall make the nomination

under subsection (5) in relation to A.

(7)   

The First Minister and the deputy First Minister acting jointly shall

make such nominations (or further nominations) of Ministers and

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junior Ministers (including where appropriate alternative

nominations) as they consider necessary to ensure such cross-

community participation in either Council as is required by the Belfast

Agreement.

(8)   

Subsection (9) applies in relation to any matter included in the agenda

40

for a meeting of either Council if—

(a)   

the First Minister and the deputy First Minister are not the

appropriate Ministers in relation to the matter; but

(b)   

the matter is one that ought, by virtue of section 20(3) or (4), to

be considered by the Executive Committee.

45

(9)   

The First Minister and the deputy First Minister acting jointly shall also

be entitled—

(a)   

to attend the meeting; and

(b)   

to participate in the meeting so far as it relates to that matter.

 
 

Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill
Part 2 — Amendments of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 etc

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(10)   

In this section “day” does not include a Saturday, a Sunday, Christmas

Day, Good Friday and any day which is a bank holiday in Northern

Ireland.

52B     

Section 52A: duty to attend Council meetings etc

(1)   

It shall be a Ministerial responsibility of—

5

(a)   

each appropriate Minister; or

(b)   

if a Minister or junior Minister is nominated under section

52A(3) or (5) to attend a meeting of the North-South Ministerial

Council or the British-Irish Council in place of an appropriate

Minister, that Minister or junior Minister,

10

   

to participate in the meeting so far as it relates to matters for which the

appropriate Minister has responsibility.

(2)   

It shall be a Ministerial responsibility of a Minister or junior Minister

nominated to attend a meeting of either Council under section 52A(7)

to participate in the meeting so far as specified in the nomination.

15

(3)   

Each appropriate Minister shall give to—

(a)   

a person nominated under section 52A(3) or (5) to attend a

meeting of either Council in his place; or

(b)   

a person nominated under section 52A(7) to participate in a

meeting of either Council so far as specified in the nomination,

20

   

such information as may be necessary to enable the person’s full

participation in the meeting.

(4)   

But if the appropriate Minister does not give sufficient information

under subsection (3) to enable the person’s full participation in the

meeting—

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(a)   

the First Minister and the deputy First Minister acting jointly

may request the necessary information; and

(b)   

if they do so, the appropriate Minister must give that

information to the person nominated.

(5)   

A person nominated under section 52A(3) or (5) may enter into

30

agreements or arrangements in respect of matters for which the

appropriate Minister is (or the appropriate Ministers are) responsible.

(6)   

Without prejudice to the operation of section 24, a Minister or junior

Minister attending a meeting of either Council by virtue of any

provision of section 52A or this section shall act in accordance with any

35

decisions of the Assembly or the Executive Committee (by virtue of

section 20) which are relevant to his participation in the Council

concerned.

(7)   

In this section “appropriate Minister”, in relation to a meeting of the

North-South Ministerial Council or the British-Irish Council, has the

40

same meaning as in section 52A.

52C     

Section 52A: supplementary

(1)   

If any question arises under section 52A or 52B as to which Minister or

junior Minister has responsibility for any matter, the First Minister and

the deputy First Minister acting jointly shall determine that question.

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