Northern Ireland Office

We ensure the smooth working of the devolution settlement in Northern Ireland.



Secretary of State

 Portrait

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Shadow Ministers / Spokeperson
Liberal Democrat
Baroness Suttie (LDEM - Life peer)
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
Alistair Carmichael (LDEM - Orkney and Shetland)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

Labour
Louise Haigh (LAB - Sheffield, Heeley)
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Baroness Smith of Basildon (LAB - Life peer)
Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

Scottish National Party
Richard Thomson (SNP - Gordon)
Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
Junior Shadow Ministers / Deputy Spokesperson
Labour
Alex Davies-Jones (LAB - Pontypridd)
Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland)
Ministers of State
Conor Burns (CON - Bournemouth West)
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
Scheduled Event
Wednesday 20th October 2021
09:00
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee - Oral evidence - Select & Joint Committees
20 Oct 2021, 9 a.m.
The experiences of minority ethnic and migrant people in Northern Ireland
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Scheduled Event
Wednesday 27th October 2021
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
27 Oct 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Northern Ireland
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Debates
Tuesday 7th September 2021
Northern Ireland Protocol
Written Statements
Select Committee Docs
Monday 20th September 2021
00:00
15 September 2021
Oral Evidence
Select Committee Inquiry
Monday 19th April 2021
The experience of minority ethnic and migrant people in Northern Ireland

Data from the Northern Ireland Census 2011 illustrates that 1.8% (32,400) of the population belonged to non-white minority ethnic groups; …

Written Answers
Monday 18th October 2021
Police Service of Northern Ireland: Uniforms
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish details of the contract to supply new …
Secondary Legislation
Tuesday 18th May 2021
Local Elections (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) Order 2021
This Order amends provisions in the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962 (c. 14 (N.I.)) (the “1962 Act”) relating to …
Bills
Wednesday 12th May 2021
Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to make provision about Ministerial appointments, extraordinary Assembly elections, the Ministerial Code of Conduct and petitions of concern …
Dept. Publications
Thursday 14th October 2021
14:07
Treaty
None available

Northern Ireland Office Commons Appearances

Oral Answers to Questions is a regularly scheduled appearance where the Secretary of State and junior minister will answer at the Dispatch Box questions from backbench MPs

Other Commons Chamber appearances can be:
  • Urgent Questions where the Speaker has selected a question to which a Minister must reply that day
  • Adjornment Debates a 30 minute debate attended by a Minister that concludes the day in Parliament.
  • Oral Statements informing the Commons of a significant development, where backbench MP's can then question the Minister making the statement.

Westminster Hall debates are performed in response to backbench MPs or e-petitions asking for a Minister to address a detailed issue

Written Statements are made when a current event is not sufficiently significant to require an Oral Statement, but the House is required to be informed.

Most Recent Commons Appearances by Category
Dec. 02
Oral Questions
Mar. 10
Urgent Questions
Sep. 07
Written Statements
May. 20
Westminster Hall
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Bills currently before Parliament

Northern Ireland Office does not have Bills currently before Parliament


Acts of Parliament created in the 2019 Parliament

Northern Ireland Office has not passed any Acts during the 2019 Parliament

Northern Ireland Office - Secondary Legislation

This Order amends provisions in the Electoral Law Act (Northern Ireland) 1962 (c. 14 (N.I.)) (the “1962 Act”) relating to election publications for Northern Ireland local elections.
Sections 1 to 8 of, and Schedule 1 to, the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 (c. 6) (the “2007 Act”) provide for trial on indictment without a jury (“the non-jury trial provisions”). Section 9(1) of the 2007 Act provides that the non-jury trial provisions expire at the end of the period of two years beginning with the day on which section 1 of the 2007 Act comes into force (“the effective period”). Section 1 came into force on 1st August 2007. Section 9(2) enables the Secretary of State to extend the effective period by order. Section 9(3)(b) provides that the effect of such an order is to extend the effective period for two years beginning with the time when the effective period would end but for the order.
View All Northern Ireland Office Secondary Legislation

Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

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Petitions with most signatures
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Northern Ireland Office has not participated in any petition debates
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Departmental Select Committee

Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

Commons Select Committees are a formally established cross-party group of backbench MPs tasked with holding a Government department to account.

At any time there will be number of ongoing investigations into the work of the Department, or issues which fall within the oversight of the Department. Witnesses can be summoned from within the Government and outside to assist in these inquiries.

Select Committee findings are reported to the Commons, printed, and published on the Parliament website. The government then usually has 60 days to reply to the committee's recommendations.


11 Members of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee
Simon Hoare Portrait
Simon Hoare (Conservative - North Dorset)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Chair since 29th January 2020
Bob Stewart Portrait
Bob Stewart (Conservative - Beckenham)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Ian Paisley Portrait
Ian Paisley (Democratic Unionist Party - North Antrim)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Claire Hanna Portrait
Claire Hanna (Social Democratic & Labour Party - Belfast South)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Robert Goodwill Portrait
Robert Goodwill (Conservative - Scarborough and Whitby)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Stephen Farry Portrait
Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Gregory Campbell Portrait
Gregory Campbell (Democratic Unionist Party - East Londonderry)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Scott Benton Portrait
Scott Benton (Conservative - Blackpool South)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 2nd March 2020
Mary Kelly Foy Portrait
Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 8th June 2020
Stephanie Peacock Portrait
Stephanie Peacock (Labour - Barnsley East)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 6th July 2020
Fay Jones Portrait
Fay Jones (Conservative - Brecon and Radnorshire)
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee Member since 11th January 2021
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee: Upcoming Events
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
The experiences of minority ethnic and migrant people in Northern Ireland
20 Oct 2021, 9 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Michele Janes - Head of Barnardo's NI at Barnardo's Northern Ireland
Geraldine McGahey - Chief Commissioner at Equality Commission of Northern Ireland

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50 most recent Written Questions

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department

21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish details of the contract to supply new uniforms to the Police Service of Northern Ireland; and what checks his Department has undertaken to ensure that those uniforms are ethically procured.

Policing and Justice are devolved matters in Northern Ireland. The awarding of any contracts for the supply of uniforms is a matter for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Department of Justice.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what plans his Department has to celebrate the Queens' Platinum Jubilee in Northern Ireland.

My officials are working closely with officials from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who are the lead Government department for Jubilee celebrations, in support of Buckingham Palace. You may be aware that a number of UK-wide projects are already in development such as the lighting of Jubilee Beacons. The public are also being encouraged to participate in Big Jubilee Lunches, in order to bring the Jubilee celebrations into the heart of communities.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many and what proportion of the Union Jack flags purchased by his Department in each of the last two years were manufactured in the UK.

My Department has not purchased any Union Jack Flags in each of the last two years.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
15th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) support for, and (2) framing of the debate around, terrorists involved in the Troubles in Northern Ireland; and what steps they are taking to work with (a) communities in Northern Ireland, (b) the political representatives of those communities, and (c) representatives of victims of the Troubles, to reduce tensions and aid reconciliation.

The Government remains committed to addressing the legacy of the past in a way that focuses on reconciliation and helping society in Northern Ireland look to the future. Since the publication of the Government’s Command Paper in July, we have engaged bilaterally and multilaterally with stakeholders from Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland on our legacy proposals - including political parties, victims groups and other representatives from across the Northern Ireland community.

The Government continues to engage and reflect on the many different perspectives we have heard, while being clear that we will never accept any equivalence between those who perpetrated violence in Northern Ireland, and those who sought to uphold the law or abide by it.

The Government also continues to invest in social development across Northern Ireland, strengthening social cohesion and building stronger, safer communities, including through the £730 million PEACE PLUS programme announced in September 2021 to support economic stability, peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many meetings he or his predecessors have had with the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in each of the last three years.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland engages regularly with the Chief Constable of the Police Service for Northern Ireland to discuss a range of issues including National Security matters.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, which companies have supplied Union Jack flags to his Department since 2019.

My Department has not purchased any Union Jack flags since 2019, and therefore, there is no list of relevant companies.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent steps the Government has taken to support community integration in Northern Ireland by helping to ensure that all deaths from the Troubles are commemorated appropriately.

As outlined in the Command Paper on legacy published in July, the Government remains committed to furthering reconciliation in Northern Ireland and has set out proposals for doing so.

These proposals include initiatives that aim to facilitate thoughtful and inclusive commemoration and reflection on the past for people of all backgrounds, building on the Oral History Archive proposed in the Stormont House Agreement.

The Government’s proposals reflect, and continue to inform, bilateral and multilateral engagement with key stakeholders - including academic experts and the victims sector. We are still listening to, and carefully considering different views to ensure commemorative measures are appropriate and effective.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he last discussed air quality with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive.

Air quality in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive.

The UK Government is committed to delivering action on climate change at a global scale through its leadership at COP26. The UK Government has committed to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, ahead of achieving Net Zero by 2050. This will deliver cleaner air, as well as jobs, prosperity, and a brighter future.

We will deliver this action across the whole United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland has an important role to play in that. Northern Ireland has great potential to become a leader in hydrogen technology, and the UK Government has supported this including providing £11.2m to Wrightbus to develop and manufacture low-cost hydrogen fuel cell technology for buses and create a hydrogen centre of excellence. In addition, through the New Decade, New Approach agreement the UK Government has provided £50m over two years to support the rollout of ultra-low emission public transport.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland regularly meets with stakeholders across Northern Ireland, including the First Minister and deputy First Minister, and discusses climate change in Northern Ireland. In addition, the COP26 President chairs the COP26 Devolved Administrations Ministerial Group which meets quarterly.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Northern Ireland Executive in tackling climate change.

The UK Government is committed to delivering action on climate change at a global scale through its leadership at COP26. The UK Government has committed to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, ahead of achieving Net Zero by 2050. This will deliver cleaner air, as well as jobs, prosperity, and a brighter future.

The UK Government works alongside the Northern Ireland Executive in tackling climate change, as working together both domestically and internationally is how we can collectively achieve our goals. We will continue to work together, including with the COP26 Devolved Administrations Ministerial Group, Chaired by the COP26 President, which meets quarterly.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish the (a) properties classified as heritage assets by his Department, (b) most recent estimate of the value of those properties and (c) annual income derived from those properties.

The Northern Ireland Office publishes details of heritage assets held by the Department in the Annual Report and Accounts. From the 20-21 Annual Report and Accounts:

(a) The properties classified as heritage assets held by the Department comprise of Hillsborough Castle and its surrounding estate;

(b) The most recent valuation is £70.4m, consisting of £64.6m for the buildings and £5.8m for the land;

(c) The Department derives no annual income from the Castle.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Northern Ireland Executive in tackling child poverty.

Welfare and employment are devolved matters in Northern Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Executive’s Child Poverty Strategy, published in March 2016 and extended by the Executive until 2022, sets out its vision to eradicate child poverty in the future. The aims of the strategy are to reduce the number of children in poverty and reduce the impact of living in poverty on children.

In line with commitments in the New Decade, New Approach agreement, the Northern Ireland Executive is also developing an Anti-Poverty Strategy that aims to address inequalities and obstacles that directly affect the everyday lives of the most vulnerable people in society and will bring focus to identifying and addressing the issues, barriers and disadvantages that undermine equality of opportunity.

There is no doubt that the Executive is committed to combating poverty via the Anti-Poverty and Child Poverty strategies and it has already appointed an Anti-Poverty Strategy Expert Advisory Panel which provided an initial report in December 2020.

This work aligns with the Government’s long-term ambitions to tackle poverty through a reformed welfare system that works with the labour market to encourage people to move into work wherever possible and we are wholly committed to supporting those on low incomes.

Over the past years, the UK Government has invested £2 billion in the New Decade, New Approach financial package; over £600m to the City and Growth Deal programme; and £400m in the New Deal for Northern Ireland to bring prosperity across Northern Ireland, and thereby helping to reduce poverty.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent assessment he has made of the progress on the Independent Review of Education in Northern Ireland being undertaken by the Department of Education Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement.

The Independent Review of Education was an important commitment made in the New Decade, New Approach Agreement, to be taken forward by the Northern Ireland Executive. It presents a real opportunity to ensure that Northern Ireland’s education system works for all children and young people, and helps promote integration and reconciliation at its core.

The Government welcomes the establishment of the Review, the publication of its Terms of Reference and the completion of the recruitment process for the Panel. We hope this progress will continue and look forward to the Panel’s findings, which will be for the Northern Ireland Executive to consider and take forward.

The Government firmly believes that greater integration within Northern Ireland’s education system is an essential aspect of the reconciliation process in Northern Ireland. That is why, as part of the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements, the Government committed to providing up to £500 million of funding to support shared and integrated education projects. The £400 million New Deal for Northern Ireland will also support initiatives to enable children from different community backgrounds to be educated together.


Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the findings of the poll conducted by the Integrated Education Fund, published June 2021, what steps he is taking to increase access to integrated schools for children; and if he will make a statement.

The Government firmly believes that greater integration within education is an essential aspect of the reconciliation process in Northern Ireland. That is why, as part of the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements, the Government committed to providing up to £500 million of funding to support shared and integrated education projects. This funding is supporting the building of 23 integrated schools and 5 shared campuses.

The £400 million New Deal for Northern Ireland will also support initiatives to enable children from different community backgrounds to be educated together. The Government is currently exploring ways in which this funding can best be deployed.


Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many Black and ethnic minority staff hold management positions in his Department.

We have taken management positions to mean Senior Civil Servants, of which there are 17 from the overall headcount of 173, within the Northern Ireland Office. The diversity declaration data we currently hold shows that no senior civil servants have declared to be from a black or minority ethnic background.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent estimate he has made of the number of Black and ethnic minority staff employed in his Department.

To effectively collate and capture diversity data, the department encourages staff to complete a diversity declaration questionnaire. The HR team regularly analyses this data. Current data held suggests 2.5% of staff have declared to be from a Black and ethinc minority background. 35% of staff have not declared their background and 2% have stated “Prefer not to say”. These figures are based on 92 staff members completing their diversity data, out of a total of 164.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their agreement New Decade, New Approach, published on 8 January 2020, what funding related to the armed forces has been provided under that agreement; over what period each funding stream will be delivered; and what terms and conditions apply to each funding stream.

This Government is committed to an ambitious programme of Armed Forces modernisation.

Under the New Decade, New Approach agreement, the Government is supporting our Armed Forces and veterans in Northern Ireland through a range of measures, including UK-wide legislation to further incorporate the Armed Forces Covenant into law and the appointment of the Veterans Commissioner to act as an independent point of contact for veterans in Northern Ireland.

Up to £200,000 has already been provided for veterans’ support services from the New Decade, New Approach funding. Further details on funding allocations for veterans’ services will be set out in due course.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
16th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 14 July (HC Deb, cols 389–91) on prosecutions relating to the Troubles in Northern Ireland, what assessment they have made of the implications of their proposals for (1) Operation Kenova, and (2) any referrals for prosecution to the Public Prosecution Service arising from its investigations.

The Government recognises the positive achievements of Operation Kenova in terms of building relationships with victims and survivors, and helping them to understand the circumstances around what happened to their loved ones.

However, it is clear that with the passage of time, the chances of successful prosecution from even the most robust of investigations is vanishingly small.

That is why, as outlined in the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland’s oral statement of 14 July and in the command paper published afterwards, the Government wants to move away from a focus on criminal justice outcomes - which is delivering for nobody - and instead focus on effective information recovery and reconciliation measures.

The Government’s proposals are intended to inform ongoing intensive engagement with the Irish Government, Northern Ireland parties and other stakeholders with an interest in this issue. All elements of these proposals - including their practical application - are subject to ongoing consideration and discussion.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the policy paper entitled Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's past, CP 498, published on 14 July 2021, what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals to end judicial activity in relation to Troubles-related conduct across the spectrum of criminal cases, and current and future civil cases and inquests.

As outlined in the command paper published on 14 July, the Government wants to bring forward legislation that focuses on reconciliation and information recovery, delivers for victims and veterans, and ends the cycle of reinvestigations into the Troubles which is not working for anybody.

The Government’s proposals are intended to inform ongoing intensive engagement with the Irish Government, Northern Ireland parties and other stakeholders with an interest in this issue. All elements of these proposals - and any alternative proposals - are subject to ongoing consideration and discussion.


Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what plans he has to seek the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly for legislative proposals to address the legacy of the past.

The Government intends to request legislative consent for its legislative proposals relating to the legacy of the past. The Government is also committed to working with the Northern Ireland parties, as well as the Irish Government and other stakeholders, as part of an ongoing intensive process of engagement, with a view to finding agreement on the way forward.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how (a) many bids the Government received to and (b) much funding the Government dispersed under the Community Renewal Fund in Northern Ireland since that fund's introduction.

Assessment of bids to the Community Renewal Fund is underway and we hope to announce successful applicants later this summer. In Northern Ireland, £11m will be invested in projects that will boost local businesses, support communities and help people to develop skills and move into employment.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, which body will be the managing authority for the United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund as it relates to Northern Ireland.

The UK Government intends to work with both the devolved administrations and local communities to ensure that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund supports citizens across the UK.

We have confirmed that the devolved administrations will be represented on the governance structures for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will target people and places most in need across the UK.

It is important that voices across Northern Ireland are listened to during the design and development of the Fund, and that is why we continue to engage the NI Executive and local partners as we develop the UKSPF investment framework.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues and social media platforms on tackling sectarian abuse and incitement online.

Online abuse is an issue that affects all parts of the United Kingdom and it is important that we work together to keep people safe from such abuse.

In May, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published its draft Online Safety Bill. The Northern Ireland Office, as well as the Northern Ireland Department of Justice, who have lead responsibility in Northern Ireland for tackling sectarian abuse and incitement online, have been engaged in this work.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the Command Paper on Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's Past published on 14 July 2021, what training staff at an information recovery body will be given to enable them to take responsibility for determining the relevancy of material help by a state organisation irrespective of how sensitive that information may be.

The Government’s proposals outlined in the command paper published on 14 July, including those regarding a new independent information recovery body, are intended to inform ongoing intensive engagement with the Irish Government, Northern Ireland parties and other stakeholders with an interest in this issue.

All elements of these proposals - including their practical operation - are subject to ongoing consideration and discussion.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the Command Paper, Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's Past, published 14 July 2021, whether a new information recovery body will have access to full police and disclosure powers including access to intelligence, powers of arrest, search, the right to seize documents and information sharing procedures in line with operation Kenova with MI5, PSNI and the Ministry of Defence.

The Government’s proposals outlined in the command paper published on 14 July, including those regarding a new independent information recovery body, are intended to inform ongoing intensive engagement with the Irish Government, Northern Ireland parties and other stakeholders with an interest in this issue.

All elements of these proposals - including their practical operation - are subject to ongoing consideration and discussion.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether the information sharing procedures and protocols available to Operation Kenova will be made available to the information recovery body outlined in the Command Paper on Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's past published on 14 July 2021.

The Government’s proposals outlined in the command paper published on 14 July, including those regarding a new independent information recovery body, are intended to inform ongoing intensive engagement with the Irish Government, Northern Ireland parties and other stakeholders with an interest in this issue.

All elements of these proposals - including their practical operation - are subject to ongoing consideration and discussion.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, which victims of terror in Great Britain he consulted prior to his Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's Past proposals, announced on 14 July 2021.

Following the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference on 24 June, the UK and Irish Governments initiated an ongoing process of intensive engagement with the Northern Ireland parties and other stakeholders, with a view to finding a way forward on legacy issues.

It was agreed that engagement with victims and survivors - including those in Great Britain - would be central to these discussions, and their views and perspectives will continue to be sought.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, which victims groups within Great Britain he plans to engage with as part of the policy on addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland's past.

Following the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference on 24 June, the UK and Irish Governments initiated an ongoing process of intensive engagement with the Northern Ireland parties and other stakeholders, with a view to finding a way forward on legacy issues.

It was agreed that engagement with victims and survivors - including those in Great Britain - would be central to these discussions, and their views and perspectives will continue to be sought as part of this ongoing process of engagement.

The Government is committed to publishing details of ministers’ meetings with external organisations on a quarterly basis. Publications for the Northern Ireland Office can be found on gov.uk.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the Command Paper, Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's past, published 14 July 2021, whether the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to prevent inquests relating to the legacy of the past from continuing.

As outlined in the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland’s oral statement of 14 July, and in the command paper published afterwards, the Government wants to move away from a focus on criminal justice outcomes - which is delivering for nobody - and instead focus on effective information recovery and reconciliation measures.

The Government’s proposals are intended to inform ongoing intensive engagement with the Irish Government, Northern Ireland parties and other stakeholders with an interest in this issue. All elements of these proposals - and any alternative proposals - are subject to ongoing consideration and discussion.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
19th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the Command Paper on Addressing the Legacy of Northern Ireland's Past published on 14 July 2021, whether he plans to release the full human rights impact assessment for those proposals.

The UK Government is fully committed to fulfilling its human rights obligations.

On 19 July, the Government published on gov.uk a Section 75 Equality Screening Form for its proposals to address the legacy of the Troubles, as set out by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 14 July. Appropriate impact assessments will be provided in due course.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I meet regularly with colleagues to discuss matters relating to Northern Ireland, including the implementation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.

It is imperative that the Protocol is operated in a pragmatic and proportionate way to ensure that it impacts as little as possible on the people of Northern Ireland. The UK is working hard and in good faith to find solutions. We need to find a way forward, a new balance of arrangements, adapted to the practical reality of what we have seen since January, and based on the common interests we all share.

The Government set out its approach to the Protocol in Parliament today.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jul 2021
What discussions he has held with cabinet colleagues and social media platforms on tackling sectarian abuse and incitement online.

Online abuse is an issue that affects all four nations of the United Kingdom and it is important that we work together to keep people safe from such abuse.

In May, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published its draft Online Safety Bill. The Northern Ireland Department of Justice, who have lead responsibility in Northern Ireland for tackling sectarian abuse and incitement online, has been engaged in this work.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jul 2021
What recent discussions he has had with (a) Cabinet colleagues and (b) representatives of social media platforms on tackling sectarian abuse and incitement online.

Online abuse is an issue that affects all four nations of the United Kingdom and it is important that we work together to keep people safe from such abuse.

In May, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published its draft Online Safety Bill. The Northern Ireland Department of Justice, who have lead responsibility in Northern Ireland for tackling sectarian abuse and incitement online, has been engaged in this work.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jul 2021
What steps the Government is taking to help create jobs and attract investment in Northern Ireland.

The UK Government is committed to creating jobs and attracting investment in Northern Ireland - a key part of our plans to level up across the UK.

The Government’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ has protected jobs and livelihoods. And we have committed £600m to City & Growth Deals to help boost the economy, enhancing skills and creating new jobs such as the 100+ announced by Tech firm Igale.

We are also working with DIT and Invest NI to attract inward investment, including by highlighting Northern Ireland's strengths at a NI showcase event in London in September.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
21st Jul 2021
What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on co-ordinating a UK wide response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I continue to hold regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues as part of the Government response to covid-19. This includes regular meetings with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and, of course, the First and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Although each devolved administration controls its own public health policy, we have been coordinating our responses to Covid, seeking alignment in policy and approach where appropriate, to ensure we were able to tackle the pandemic.

This joined-up approach has been pivotal in delivering the successful vaccine rollout right across the UK which has seen over 995,493 of the adult population in Northern Ireland receive both doses of the vaccine. It will be important that we maintain this collective approach as we seek to recover from the pandemic.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure the protection of veterans who served in Northern Ireland while ensuring that the implementation of any such protection does not result in those responsible for terrorist offences evading justice.

The Government has been clear that it will deliver on its commitments to NI veterans as part of a wider package to address the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland.


As set out by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland last week, the Government’s proposed package focuses on reconciliation, information recovery and ending the cycle of investigations that is not working for anyone.


The Government remains clear however, that it will never accept any moral equivalence between those who upheld the law in Northern Ireland and those, on all sides, who sought to destroy it.


These proposals will be considered as part of the ongoing intensive talks process with the NI parties, Irish Government and representatives of NI society, further to which we will bring forward legislation.


Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to his Oral Statement of 14 July 2021, Official Report, column 388, whether the offence of perjury in respect of Troubles-related incidents will be subject to the proposed statute of limitation.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland’s oral statement of 14 July - and the command paper published afterwards - formally set out the Government’s proposals for dealing with the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past.

These proposals are intended to inform ongoing intensive engagement with the Irish Government, Northern Ireland parties and other stakeholders with an interest in this policy.

Further details will be subject to these discussions and will be shared in due course.


Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to his Statement on 14 July 2021, Official Report, columns 388-402, on the Legacy of Northern Ireland’s Past, if the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly will be sought for the proposed legislation.

As set out by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 14 July, the Government will bring forward legislation to address the legacy of the Troubles that focuses on reconciliation, delivers for victims, and ends the cycle of investigations. The Government intends to request legislative consent for its legislative proposals

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the oral contribution of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of 27 April 2021, Official Report, column 86WH, on the Government's policy on the inappropriate use by some employers of fire and rehire as a negotiation tactic, what steps their Department has taken to (a) investigate and (b) discourage the use of fire and rehire negotiation tactics by their Department's executive non-departmental public bodies; and what steps they have taken to communicate the Government's policy on those practices to those bodies.

My Department has a number of small NDPBs who are mostly resourced by Civil Servants on secondment from the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) and follow NICS policies and guidelines. There has not been any inappropriate use of “fire and rehire” as secondment arrangements are regularly reviewed and staff return to their NICS department at the end of their secondments. The Northern Ireland Office is not the employer and is therefore not in a position to “fire and rehire” as part of any negotiations. For the very small number of instances where NDPBs are not resourced by NICS staff, the employees are not employed as civil servants but the NDPB follows NICS terms and conditions.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what mechanisms are in place to audit information provided to his Department by (a) regulatory bodies and (b) non-departmental public bodies.

My Department relies on a small number of non-departmental public bodies to provide independent advice and carry out a range of important functions to deliver strategic objectives. Assurance is taken on the quality of the information provided by these bodies through scrutiny by my officials and the work of internal and external auditors.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, how many items of written correspondence from hon. Members sent to Ministers of his Department have been (a) received and (b) replied to since 1 April 2020; and how many of those responses were responded to by (i) Ministers and (ii) officials of his Department.

The Government recognises the great importance of the effective and timely handling of correspondence.

The Cabinet Office is currently compiling data on the timeliness of responses to Hon. and Rt Hon. members from Government Departments and Agencies. This data will be released, and made available to Members, in due course.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he plans to publish the Government's proposals on tackling the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past.

The current system for dealing with the legacy of the past is failing to bring satisfactory outcomes for families and placing a heavy burden on the criminal justice system. It is not working for anyone and is leaving society in Northern Ireland hamstrung by its past.

On 24 June, the UK Government - along with the Irish Government - agreed to commence a process of intensive engagement with the Northern Ireland parties and all relevant stakeholders and civil society, including victims groups, with a view to making progress on this issue as soon as possible. This engagement process has now started, and the UK Government has committed to bringing forward proposals and to introducing legislation to address the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of his Department's energy usage in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021.

My Department is based in two leased sites, 1 Horse Guards Road, London and Stormont House, Belfast. In London, energy charges are included within the leasing arrangement from the landlord, Her Majesty's Treasury and my Department does not hold any figures for energy usage. In Belfast, the cost of energy usage is shown below.

Year

Electricity

Gas

2019

£51,637.66

£10,503.24

2020

£60,006.70

£12,446.45

2021 (to date)

£26,186.12

£9,677.60

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to his Department's announcement on 29 June of a Framework for Multiparty Talks on Northern Ireland Legacy issues, whether he plans to bring forward proposals for addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland's past before the House rises for summer recess.

It is clear that the current system for dealing with the legacy of the past is not working for anyone. It is failing to bring satisfactory outcomes for families, placing a heavy burden on the criminal justice system, and leaving society in Northern Ireland hamstrung by its past.

This is why the UK Government - along with the Irish Government - has begun a process of intensive engagement with the Northern Ireland parties and all relevant stakeholders and civil society, including victims groups, with a view to making progress on this issue as soon as possible.

The UK Government has committed to bringing forward proposals, and to introducing legislation to address the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, as soon as possible.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what his policy is on his Department's rates of recycling of plastic, paper, metal and other products; and if he will make a statement.

My Department is based in two leased sites, 1 Horse Guards Road, London and Stormont House, Belfast. As a tenant, we follow the respective recycling policies and services provided by our landlord. They offer shared services under collaborative contracts, which adhere to principles set out in greening for government commitments. For example, using recycling bins for the disposal and recycling of all mixed waste. We also use recycled paper and stationery items manufactured from reusable materials.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to encourage businesses in Northern Ireland to buy goods from the rest of the UK in preference to buying them from the EU.

Northern Ireland is an integral part of the United Kingdom, its internal market and customs territory. Northern Ireland’s place in our Union is a culmination of the relationships, the commerce, and the history shared across these islands, which we celebrate in Northern Ireland’s centenary year. The UK Government is committed to strengthening the economic and business ties between Northern Ireland and Great Britain as well driving up the export of Northern Ireland’s excellent goods and services to global markets.

However, as currently operating, the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol is causing significant challenges for people and businesses in Northern Ireland, with the complexity of new requirements seeing goods movements disrupted, trade patterns changing, and businesses stepping away from trading in Northern Ireland. The UK is engaging with the Commission on these issues that are having a real impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

The Government is committed to protecting the UK Internal Market by ensuring that Northern Ireland goods have unfettered access to the rest of the UK. To facilitate the significant trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, we have launched the UK Trader Scheme and the Movement Assistance Scheme to support traders moving goods under the Protocol.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the work required to deliver effectively the full New Decade, New Approach agreement of 2020?.

The New Decade, New Approach agreement was a historic achievement that restored the devolved institutions to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland. Its full implementation is crucial.

We have made good progress toward the implementation of our commitments, including appointing a new Veterans Commissioner; providing financial support for NI Screen’s Irish Language and Ulster Scots broadcasting funds; and launching an ambitious £3 million programme of activity to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland. Over £700 million of the £2 billion funding has also already been allocated by the Government to support the implementation of the New Decade, New Approach Agreement.

Additionally, the Northern Ireland (Ministers, Elections and Petitions of Concern) Bill was introduced on Wednesday 12 May in Parliament and is currently progressing through Committee Stage. The Bill introduces reforms, agreed in NDNA, to improve the sustainability of the Northern Ireland institutions.

We have also changed the Immigration Rules to enable family members of the people of Northern Ireland to apply for immigration status in the UK on broadly the same terms as family members of Irish citizens.

The Government will continue to work with the Northern Ireland parties and Irish Government toward full implementation to ensure that the institutions continue to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the refresh of the electoral register from 1 July 2021, what contingencies are in place to facilitate any elections that may occur over the next few months.

The conduct of both elections and canvass are operational matters for the Chief Electoral Officer who has confirmed to the Secretary State for Northern Ireland that if required her office could conduct an election during the canvass period.

The Chief Electoral Officer is under a statutory duty to hold canvass this year following a one year postponement due to the pandemic.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he last met the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State holds weekly discussions with the deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he last met the First Minister of Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State holds weekly discussions with the First Minister of Northern Ireland.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)