HC Deb 29 November 1966 vol 737 cc210-1
Q5. Mr. Hamling

asked the Prime Minister whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL. REPORT a list of Ministers responsible for Departmental matters affecting Northern Ireland, itemising the area of their responsibilities.

The Prime Minister

The preparation of an exhaustive Answer to my hon. Friend's Question would be both time consuming and expensive, but I will circulate a summary in the OFFICIAL REPORT which I hope my hon. Friend will find useful. Should he want further information on any specific point I will, of course, do my best to supply it.

Mr. Hamling

Will my right hon. Friend instruct the Ministers itemised in that list to answer Questions in this House and not to dodge them?

The Prime Minister

I have never heard any suggestion of any of my right. hon. Friends ever dodging a question—

Sir G. Nabarro

Do not exclude yourself.

The Prime Minister

—apart, of course, from some of the time-honoured formulae such as not anticipating the Budget Statement, but if my hon. Friend has in mind any particular statement of Departmental responsibility for which Ministers answer in this House for Northern Ireland legislation, perhaps he will let me know.

Following is the information:

The Government of Ireland Act, 1920, transferred general powers of government to the Northern Ireland Parliament, but reserved certain matters to the Parliament at Westminster and excepted other matters from the powers of the Northern Ireland authorities. In relation to all these reserved and excepted matters the relevant United Kingdom Minister has responsibility to Northern Ireland as in Great Britain. The most important of these matters are matters relating to the Crown, the making of peace and war, the armed services, foreign and Commonwealth relations, elections to the United Kingdom Parliament, dignities and titles, treason, aliens, naturalisation, trade with places outside Northern Ireland, merchant shipping, wireless telegraphy, aerial navigation, coinage, trade marks, copyright, patents, the Supreme Court of Judicature of Northern Ireland, the Postal Service, Customs and Excise, income tax and any tax on profits. (The relevant provisions of the Government of Ireland Act are Sections 4, 9, 19, 21 and 47.)

In addition, legislation subsequent to the Act of 1920 has conferred on United Kingdom Ministers powers that are exercisable in relation to Northern Ireland. Notable examples of this are the Agriculture Acts (in relation to the agriculture guarantee system) and the legislation on monopolies and restrictive practices.

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