Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections and Periods of Suspension) Bill — 12 May 2003 at 21:55
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
This Bill provides for deferment of the elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly that were due to be held on 29 May. I very much regret having to introduce the Bill. I should have much preferred to present an order for the restoration of devolved Government. Elections should be deferred only for the most compelling reasons. However, I am clear that, in presenting the Bill, the Government are doing what is most likely to sustain the Good Friday agreement and a political process that will bring nearer the day when we shall be able to restore the devolved institutions.
It being Ten o'clock, Mr. Deputy Speaker, pursuant to Order [this day], put forthwith the Question, That the Bill be read a Second time:-
The House divided: Ayes 290, Noes 22.
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