This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill on 10 July 2019.
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In January 2017, the Northern Ireland Executive collapsed. Since then, several talks between the UK Government and the five main parties in Northern Ireland to restore power-sharing have failed. The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill is a government bill that would amend section 1 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 to extend the period for forming an executive until 21 October 2019. It would also grant powers to the Secretary of State to extend the period to form an executive to 13 January 2020, through regulations subject to the made affirmative procedure. The bill would also impose a duty on the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on the progress made towards the formation of an executive in Northern Ireland. The bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 4 July 2019. It had its second reading in the Commons on 8 July 2019 and all remaining stages were taken on 9 July 2019. The Commons Speaker called a number of amendments, including those concerning equal marriage, abortion, historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland and amendments requiring progress reports to be debated. A number of amendments were agreed in the House of Commons. These are outlined in a table in this briefing. First reading was taken in the Lords on 9 July 2019, with second reading of the bill taking place on 10 July 2019.