In addition to establishing the Independent Reporting Commission, the proposed legislation:
Modifies the pledge of office by Northern Ireland Ministers to include fresh obligations to work together on their shared objective of ridding society of all forms of paramilitary activity and groups, and introduces a parallel undertaking for members of the Assembly;
Extends the period allowed for the appointment of Northern Ireland Ministers once the Assembly is elected from seven to 14 days; and
Makes provision to promote fiscal transparency and support the Executive to deliver a stable and sustainable budget.
Welcoming the legislation, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP said:
Today’s Bill is another step towards a brighter, more secure future for Northern Ireland. It implements key parts of November’s Fresh Start agreement and the 2014 Stormont House agreement.
A new Independent Reporting Commission charged with holding the UK Government, Executive and Irish Government to account is important. Alongside the declaration that paramilitary activity will never be tolerated and a Joint Agency Task Force established last year, it provides a basis of a unified effort to rid Northern Ireland of the malign influence of these groups for good.
As the Bill progresses through Parliament, the United Kingdom Government will continue to work alongside Northern Ireland’s political leaders and the wider community to help build a society where politics works, the economy grows and society is stronger and more united. It is an ambitious programme but also vital if Northern Ireland is to prosper.