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James Brokenshire - Northern Ireland Office

The DUP and Sinn Fein continue their discussions towards the formation of an Executive in Northern Ireland. The parties have reduced the number of issues between them - including on some aspects of language and culture - but clear differences still remain. The Government is committed to continuing to work with all the Northern Ireland parties and the Irish Government, consistent with the three stranded approach, towards reaching agreement quickly. I have been in regular contact with party leaders and Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and will have further meetings in Belfast this week. The Prime Minister has been actively involved throughout this process. This has included her recent meeting with the Taoiseach and discussions with the leaders of the DUP and Sinn Fein. She shares the high priority which I place on the Government being ready and willing to work tirelessly to support the restoration of the Northern Ireland devolved institutions.

It is crucial that, with this support, the parties continue to do their utmost to reach an agreement which allows them to make those decisions which are important to the people of Northern Ireland. The parties have shown leadership and the ability to look beyond their differences in the past to resolve significant challenges which have separated them. I have urged the parties to focus their remaining efforts and energies on closing the outstanding gaps swiftly to find a resolution which will pave the way for the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland. With the right spirit of compromise this can be achieved and now is the time to come together and reach agreement.

I stand ready to bring forward legislation to enable an Executive to be formed quickly once agreement has been reached. But the timeframe for this is not indefinite. As Secretary of State, I have a responsibility for good governance and political stability in Northern Ireland - which has now been without a full Executive for ten months. If devolved government is not restored in the next few weeks, I will consider carefully what steps are needed in the best interests of the people, the voluntary sector, public services and businesses in Northern Ireland. As a minimum, this would involve introducing legislation later this month to set a budget for 2017/18 putting Northern Ireland on a path towards greater UK Government intervention in its day to day affairs.

We are not at this point yet. It is in the best interests of Northern Ireland and its people to have strategic decisions taken by locally elected politicians in the interests of the whole community. That is why the Government remains resolute in its efforts with the parties to secure the outcome which a majority of Northern Ireland want and need: the restoration of devolution. Ultimately, it is for the parties to reach agreement, but Northern Ireland has come so far and I encourage the parties to keep this firmly in mind as they work towards finding that resolution.

Karen Bradley - Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

I wish to inform the House that, on 9 October 2017, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport laid a minute recording the submission of a bid by Commonwealth Games England, Birmingham City Council, the West Midlands Combined Authority and DCMS to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Birminghams bid presents an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the very best of Global Britain to the world, showcasing the UK as a destination for international trade, education and tourism. It has the full backing of government and will not only help grow the economy in the West Midlands and beyond, it would also leave a strong sports legacy by upgrading facilities to benefit both elite athletes and the local community.

The government will provide around 75% of the net budget costs of delivering the Games and an underwrite of the total event budget, as well as a series of further guarantees which the CGF requests accompany the bid. The bid, therefore, creates contingent liabilities for the UK government in relation to Commonwealth Games.

The minute notes these liabilities as governments commitment to provide funding for the Games, underwrite the costs, and provide a number of further guarantees relating to the successful planning and delivery of the event. These contingent liabilities will only take effect in the event of a successful bid and our agreement of a hosting contract with the Commonwealth Games Federation.

The bid was submitted on 30 September 2017 and, due to the much shorter than usual timeframe in which to prepare the bid, I apologise that there was insufficient time to notify Parliament of our intention before the House returned.

Parliamentarians may signify objections by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or by otherwise raising the matter in parliament by 31 October. Final approval to proceed with incurring the liability will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

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