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Bill to extend NI Executive formation period progresses through House of Commons

The Bill will extend the period for Executive formation to 18 January 2024 Bill amendments will allow legislation to progress to implement the opt-out system for organ donation.

Today, the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill will move through all stages in the House of Commons.

The Bill will extend the period for Executive formation by a year to 18 January 2024, while retaining the power to name an election date any time during the period. This additional time for the NI Parties to focus attention on restoring devolved institutions in Northern Ireland also provides space for the continued UK-EU dialogue to find solutions to the problems the NI Protocol is causing.

Following amendments tabled to the Bill in the House of Commons, the Bill will also allow regulations to be made regarding the rules for organ donation, in the absence of devolved government.

Following cross-party support for the plight of six-year-old Belfast boy Daithí MacGabhann who is waiting for a heart transplant, the UK Government has taken the exceptional step to bring forward an amendment to the Bill to progress legislation for Daithi’s Law to implement an ‘opt-out’ organ donation system, bringing NI in line with the rest of the UK. It follows cross-party and unanimous support from NI parties during its initial stages in the NI Assembly.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris said:

“The people of Northern Ireland deserve to have a fully functioning devolved Government working on the important issues impacting them, and achieving this remains my top priority.

“This Bill creates the time and space needed to focus attention on restoring Stormont and for UK-EU negotiations to reach a solution on the NI Protocol that meets the needs of people across Northern Ireland.

“The Bill will also see the installation of an ‘opt-out’ organ donation system. While this exceptional intervention by the Government is welcome and important, I am disappointed the decision was not taken by  locally-elected decision-makers in the NI Assembly.

“I will continue to do everything I can to support the parties to come together as soon as possible in the interests of those who elected them.”

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