Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Northern Ireland Assembly Members Bill

Politicians sitting in both the House of Commons and the Northern Ireland Assembly should not receive two salaries, the government has said.

On 11 March 2010, Northern Ireland minister Paul Goggins introduced a bill in the Commons that means people can be elected to both chambers but will only get paid to be an MP.

The Northern Ireland Assembly Members Bill also allows the Assembly to delegate control of its salaries and allowances to an independent body.

The bill received cross-party support in the House of Lords last month, where Lords Leader Baroness Royall said she hoped its measures would be a "catalyst" for politicians to decide whether they wanted to sit in Westminster or in the Assembly.

Opening the second reading debate in the Commons, Mr Goggins said: "The consensus view in the House of Lords, and I hope and expect in this place too, is that where somebody claims the salary of an MP, they should get no salary as a member of the Assembly."

For the Tories, Laurence Robertson said his party supported the move to restrict dual salaries as being "in the right direction".

But he said MPs should not be able to sit in devolved assemblies at all, as recommended by Sir Christopher Kelly's Committee on Standards in Public Life.

For the Liberal Democrats, Alistair Carmichael said the bill was a "non-contentious piece of legislation".

MPs approved the bill at second reading without a vote.


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