HC Deb 13 March 1997 vol 292 c303W
Mr. Robert McCartney

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to allow the Northern Ireland Forum to continue operating during any castle buildings talks adjournment. [18754]

Sir Patrick Mayhew

The Northern Ireland (Entry to Negotiations, etc) Act 1996 places me under a duty to make, subject to approval of a draft in each House, an order to withdraw from effect the provisions establishing the Forum if it appears to me that the negotiations have been concluded or suspended.

On 10 March I announced that I had concluded that the talks were suspended, following the decision of the plenary session to adjourn until 3 June, and taking account of all the circumstances. In accordance with my statutory duty I therefore laid before Parliament the draft Northern Ireland (Entry to Negotiations, etc) Act 1996 (Cessation of Section 3) Order 1997.

If the draft order is approved, the Forum will not be able to operate in any form. It will be possible for a new Secretary of State to bring before the next Parliament a further draft order reviving the Forum.

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