Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Justice Bill - David Ford not happy with McCrea

A quick post to say I was a little confused by the Justice Minister, David Ford when he spoke about the Justice Bill with Basil McCrea on the Nolan show this morning. Speaking first, David Ford seemed more than a little annoyed that Basil was raising issues with the bill in the first place and equally annoyed that he was only raising them now.

Putting aside the particular issue that Basil McCrea had a problem with - that of Sex Offenders having the right to appeal for their name to be removed from the register - I genuinely can't understand what exactly has annoyed the Justice Minister so much. Firstly, the bill was presented to the assembly for consideration and debate, which is what I believe Basil is doing. That is exactly what he should do and that's the purpose of the consideration stage. Secondly, Basil was not on the committee for this bill, as David Ford was keen to point out, so this is his first opportunity to raise his concerns.

Now,  for the same reason as above, Basil was wrong to complain about only just finding out about the particular amendment he queries. Instead of pointing this out however, Ford uses Basil's lack of involvement at an earlier stage as an avenue of attack. I'm confused, Minister, are you saying Basil should have been on the committee or are you saying that once it's out of committee the consideration stage should just be a rubber stamp exercise?

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