Page last updated at 07:24 GMT, Thursday, 12 March 2009

Northern Ireland Bill becomes law

House of Lords
The bill passed through the House of Lords on Wednesday

The Northern Ireland Bill, which paves the way for the devolution of policing and justice, will become law later.

It passed through its final stages in the House of Lords on Wednesday night.

The measure was rushed through all its Commons stages in one day last week, despite protests from opposition parties.

Lords Leader and Northern Ireland spokesperson Baroness Royall of Blaisdon said Wednesday's rallies were proof of the NI's peaceful future.

"It is fitting and proper that we pass this Bill on a day when thousands of men and women are peacefully demonstrating on the streets of Northern Ireland," she said.

"This is demonstrable proof that they are determined to hold on to the peace. I believe the Bill reflects our common desire for a peaceful future in Northern Ireland."

Conservative peer Lord Glentoran said: "I sincerely hope this Bill will perform the duty we all expect it to, and that we will have an opportunity very soon to see the assembly returning it to us to rubber-stamp it and put it into place."

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