§ 17. Mr. Jim Marshall
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what meetings she has had to discuss preparations for the British-Irish Council. 
§ Mr. Paul Murphy
In December, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met the Secretaries for Scotland and Wales, together with my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Central (Mr. Caborn), to discuss preparations for the British-Irish Council. She also had separate discussions with my right hon. Friends the Members for Glasgow, Anniesland (Mr. Dewar) and Cardiff, South and Penarth (Mr. Michael) on recent visits to Scotland and Wales respectively. Last week, I visited the Isle of Man to bring the Isle of Man Government up to date on progress on the British-Irish Council, and I will be making a similar visit to Jersey and Guernsey in the near future. I will also be holding a meeting with a number of other Ministers on 25 February to take our preparations further.
In addition, I have regular meetings with the Northern Ireland parties on progress on the implementation of the Belfast agreement at which preparations for the BIC are discussed.