My Lord, Lord Wilson summarised the Government's case on this yesterday as being that the Northern Ireland Act does not carry this issue far enough. That is because we say the Secretary of State's submissions do not read strand two fairly and as a whole. The North South Ministerial Council is not, as the Government's case essentially suggests in paragraph 38, it is not merely a talking shop; it is set up as a joint executive body which is required to agree and implement policies, including EU policies and programmes on an all-Ireland and cross-border basis.
Now, we say, my Lords, my Lady, that simply cannot be done if one part of the island is no longer a part of the EU. Now, none of that, we say, should be surprising in the context of the Belfast agreement and the British-Irish agreement, because the whole context of those agreements is a commitment to developing cooperation, growing closer together and increasing areas of mutual interest, rather than driving a wedge between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but it also emerges, we say, from a simple reading of the text of strand two.