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Northern Ireland (Monitoring Commission etc.) Act 2003

Exclusion of Individual Ministers

16.In order to exclude an individual Minister or junior Minister from holding ministerial office, the Assembly will (as now) have to resolve that the individual concerned:

  • is not committed to non-violence and exclusively peaceful and democratic means, or

  • has failed to observe any other terms of the pledge of office (section 30(1) of the 1998 Act).

17.The pledge of office is defined in section 16(10) of the 1998 Act as the pledge of office which, together with the Code of Conduct to which it refers, is set out in the Belfast Agreement. The text is set out in Schedule 4 to the 1998 Act. Minister means the First Minister, Deputy First Minister or a Northern Ireland Minister (section 7(3) of the 1998 Act).

18.Subsection (2) amends section 30(1) of the 1998 Act, with the effect that exclusion of an individual Minister must be for a minimum of three months. The maximum period remains at twelve months but will, as now, be capable of being renewed by further resolution (subsection (3), inserting new subsection (1A) into section 30 of the 1998 Act). Any renewal must, however, be for a minimum of three and maximum of twelve months starting with the date of the resolution (new section 30(1A) inserted by subsection (3)).

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