HL Deb 07 April 2003 vol 647 cc2-3WA
Lord Beaumont of Whitley

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have received seeking a review of the law on sexual offences in Northern Ireland; and what representations they have received favouring the extension of the Sexual Offences Bill in its entirety to Northern Ireland. [HL2119]

Lord Williams of Mostyn

The Government have received no requests, in recent months, for a review into the law on sexual offences in Northern Ireland. However, the Government are conscious of the pressing need to conduct such a review and are fully committed to doing so. The Government have received a number of requests for the full extension of the Bill to Northern Ireland in response to the campaign of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association. Part 2 of the Bill will extend to Northern Ireland in so far as the measures determining the notification requirements for sex offenders are concerned. The extension of this part of the Bill follows a Home Office lead review into the Sex Offenders Act which included Northern Ireland within its scope. However, while some aspects of Part 1 will extend to Northern Ireland, to ensure that registration requirements can operate on an equal basis with England and Wales, the greater majority of the provisions contained in Part 1 will not. Part 1 of the Bill was framed on the basis of a review of sex offences which did not include Northern Ireland. It is therefore right and proper that we proceed with a public consultation and review of this issue for Northern Ireland before similar reforms can be enacted there.