Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation2006 c. 53


Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006

2006 Chapter 53

An Act to make provision for preparations for the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland in accordance with the St Andrews Agreement; to make provision as to the consequences of compliance, or non-compliance, with the St Andrews Agreement timetable; to amend the Northern Ireland Act 1998; to make provision about district policing partnerships; to amend the Education (Northern Ireland) Orders 1997 and 2006; and for connected purposes.

[22nd November 2006]

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:—

1 Preparations for restoration of devolved government

Part 1

Preparations for restoration of devolved government

S-1 Preparations for restoration of devolved government

1 Preparations for restoration of devolved government

(1) There is to be an Assembly (referred to in this Act as "the Transitional Assembly")—

(a) whose members at any time are to be the persons who are at that time members of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and

(b) whose purpose is to take part in preparations for the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland in accordance with the St Andrews Agreement.

(2) Schedule 1 (provision about the Transitional Assembly) has effect.

(3) Nothing in this Act affects the operation of section 1 of the 2000 Act (suspension of devolved government).

(4) But subsection (3) is subject to—

(a) paragraph 3 of Schedule 1,

(b) paragraphs 2 and 4 of Schedule 2, and

(c) paragraphs 1 and 2 of Schedule 4.

S-2 Compliance or non-compliance with St Andrews Agreement timetable

2 Compliance or non-compliance with St Andrews Agreement timetable

(1) If at any time before 25 March 2007 the Secretary of State considers that (were Schedule 2 to come into force) there would be no reasonable prospect that each of the Ministerial offices would be filled in accordance with paragraph 2 of that Schedule, he may make an order bringing Schedule 3 into force on the day following the day on which the order is made.

(2) If the Secretary of State does not make an order under subsection (1) before 25 March 2007—

(a) he must on that date make a restoration order providing for section 1 of the 2000 Act to cease to have effect on 26 March 2007, and

(b) Schedule 2 shall come into force on 26 March 2007.

(3) Subsection (4) applies if—

(a) the Secretary of State makes a restoration order by virtue of subsection (2), but

(b) it appears to him that one or more of the Ministerial offices has not been filled in accordance with paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 by the end of 26 March 2007.

(4) Where this subsection applies—

(a) the Secretary of State must on 27 March 2007 make an order under the 2000 Act revoking the restoration order,

(b) that order must state that it is made by virtue of subsection (3) and must come into force on 28 March 2007, and

(c) Schedule 3 shall come into force on 28 March 2007.

(5) If the Secretary of State—

(a) makes a restoration order by virtue of subsection (2), and

(b) does not make an order by virtue of subsection (3) revoking the restoration order,

Schedule 4 shall come into force on 28 March 2007.

(6) An order under subsection (1) must be made by statutory instrument.

(7) Section 7(4) to (7) of the 2000 Act (affirmative resolution etc procedure) does not apply in relation to an order made by virtue of subsection (2) or (3).

(8) In this section "the Ministerial offices" means—

(a) the offices of First Minister and deputy First Minister, and

(b) the Ministerial offices to be held by Northern Ireland Ministers.

S-3 Next Northern Ireland Assembly election to be in March 2007 etc

3 Next Northern Ireland Assembly election to be in March 2007 etc

(1) In section 31 of the 1998 Act (Northern Ireland Assembly: dates of elections and dissolutions), for subsection (2) substitute—

‘(2) The date of the poll for the election of the Assembly next following the Assembly elected at the poll on 26 November 2003 shall be 7 March 2007; and the Assembly elected on 26 November 2003 shall be dissolved on 30 January 2007.

(2) Subsection (3) applies in respect of any vacancy in the membership of the Northern Ireland Assembly which exists at any time between the passing of this Act and the date of the next election of the Assembly (whether the vacancy occurred before or after the passing of this Act).

(3) Article 7 of the Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections) Order 2001 (S.I. 2001/2599

) does not apply in the case of such a vacancy.

S-4 Remuneration of members of the Northern Ireland Assembly

4 Remuneration of members of the Northern Ireland Assembly

(1) Subsection (2) has effect in relation to—

(a) the dissolution of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 30 January 2007, and

(b) the Assembly election the poll for which is to be held on 7 March 2007 ("the next Assembly election").

(2) Section 47 of the 1998 Act (remuneration of members) is to have effect as if, for subsection (10) of that section, there were substituted—

‘(10) For the purposes of this section, a person who is a member of the Assembly immediately before the Assembly is dissolved shall be treated—

(a) as if he were a member of the Assembly until the end of the day which is the latest day for the delivery of nomination papers for the next Assembly election; and

(b) if he is nominated as a candidate at the next Assembly election, as if he were a member of the Assembly until the end of the day of the poll for that election.

(3) Subsection (4) has effect in relation to persons returned as members of the Northern Ireland Assembly at the next Assembly election.

(4) Section 47 of the 1998 Act is to have effect as if, for subsection (9)(a) of that section, there were substituted—

‘(a) a person's membership of the Assembly begins on the day on which he takes his seat (following the next Assembly election) in the Assembly established under section 1(1) of the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 in accordance with standing orders of that Assembly; and

’.

2 Amendments of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 etc

Part 2

Amendments of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 etc

Ministerial conduct

Ministerial conduct

S-5 The Executive Committee and the Ministerial Code

5 The Executive Committee and the Ministerial Code

(1) In section 20 of the 1998 Act (Executive Committee), after subsection (3) insert—

‘(4) The Committee shall also have the function of discussing and agreeing upon—

(a) significant or controversial matters that are clearly outside the scope of the agreed programme referred to in paragraph 20 of Strand One of that Agreement;

(b) significant or controversial matters that the First Minister and deputy First Minister acting jointly have determined to be matters that should be considered by the Executive Committee.

(2) After section 28 of the 1998 Act insert—

Ministerial Code

‘Ministerial Code

28A Ministerial Code

(1) Without prejudice to the operation of section 24, a Minister or junior Minister shall act in accordance with the provisions of the Ministerial Code.

(2)In this section "the Ministerial Code" means—

(a) the Ministerial Code that becomes the Ministerial Code for the purposes of this section by virtue of paragraph 4 of Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Act 2006 (as from time to time amended in accordance with this section); or

(b) any replacement Ministerial Code prepared and approved in accordance with this section (as from time to time amended in accordance with this section).

(3)If at any time the Executive Committee—

(a) prepares draft amendments to the Ministerial Code; or

(b) prepares a draft Ministerial Code to replace the Ministerial Code,

the First Minister and deputy First Minister acting jointly shall lay the draft amendments or the draft Code before the Assembly for approval.

(4)A draft Ministerial Code or a draft amendment to the Code—

(a) shall not be approved by the Assembly without cross-community support; and

(b) shall not take effect until so approved.

(5) The Ministerial Code must include provision for requiring Ministers or junior Ministers to bring to the attention of the Executive Committee any matter that ought, by virtue of section 20(3) or (4), to be considered by the Committee.

(6) The Ministerial Code must include provision for a procedure to enable any Minister or junior Minister to ask the Executive Committee to determine whether any decision that he is proposing to take, or has taken, relates to a matter that ought, by virtue of section 20(3) or (4), to be considered by the Committee.

(7)The Ministerial Code must also include provision as to the procedures of the Executive Committee with respect to—

(a) the taking of decisions; and

(b) consideration by the Committee of decision papers that are to be considered by the North-South Ministerial Council or the British-Irish Council.

(8)The Ministerial Code must in particular provide—

(a) that it is the duty of the chairmen of the Executive Committee to seek to secure that decisions of the Executive...

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