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Northern Ireland Act 1998

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

30Exclusion of Ministers from office

(1)If the Assembly resolves that a Minister or junior Minister no longer enjoys the confidence of the Assembly—

(a)because he is not committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means; or

(b)because of any failure of his to observe any other terms of the pledge of office,

he shall be excluded from holding office as a Minister or junior Minister for a period of twelve months beginning with the date of the resolution.

(2)If the Assembly resolves that a political party does not enjoy the confidence of the Assembly—

(a)because it is not committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means; or

(b)because it is not committed to such of its members as are or might become Ministers or junior Ministers observing the other terms of the pledge of office,

members of that party shall be excluded from holding office as Ministers or junior Ministers for a period of twelve months beginning with the date of the resolution.

(3)The Assembly may, before a period of exclusion comes to an end, resolve to extend it for twelve months beginning with the date of the resolution.

(4)A period of exclusion shall come to an end if the Assembly—

(a)is dissolved; or

(b)resolves to bring the exclusion to an end.

(5)A motion for a resolution under this section shall not be moved unless—

(a)it is supported by at least 30 members of the Assembly;

(b)it is moved by the First Minister and the deputy First Minister acting jointly; or

(c)it is moved by the Presiding Officer in pursuance of a notice under subsection (6).

(6)If the Secretary of State is of the opinion that the Assembly ought to consider—

(a)a resolution under subsection (1)(a) in relation to a Minister or junior Minister; or

(b)a resolution under subsection (2)(a) in relation to a political party,

he shall serve a notice on the Presiding Officer requiring him to move a motion for such a resolution.

(7)In forming an opinion under subsection (6), the Secretary of State shall in particular take into account whether the Minister or junior Minister or the political party—

(a)is committed to the use now and in the future of only democratic and peaceful means to achieve his or its objectives;

(b)has ceased to be involved in any acts of violence or of preparation for violence;

(c)is directing or promoting acts of violence by other persons;

(d)is co-operating fully with any Commission of the kind referred to in section 7 of the [1997 c. 7.] Northern Ireland Arms Decommissioning Act 1997 in implementing the Decommissioning section of the Belfast Agreement.

(8)A resolution under this section shall not be passed without cross-community support.

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