The Civil Service Special Advisers Bill yesterday (8th July) received Royal Assent.
Commenting its sponsor Jim Allister said:-
“Despite all the foolish claims of some, most notably Sinn Fein, that it was not human rights compliant, the SPAD Bill passed all the rigorous scrutiny of the Attorney General, the Advocate General and the NIO’s lawyers and is now the law of the land.
“Under the Act ministers must now declare if any of their Special Advisers have serious criminal convictions and multiple murderer Paul Kavanagh, and any other serious criminal in post, has 3 weeks to activate the appeal mechanism to an independent panel on specified grounds. Otherwise Mr Kavanagh automatically loses his position 2 months after Royal Assent.
“And, of course, henceforth no one can be appointed as a Special Adviser who has a serious criminal conviction. Moreover, the Code of Appointment and Code of Conduct for Special Advisers will be put on a statutory basis and annual reports on their cost must be produced.
“Royal Assent marks the end of a parliamentary process which began almost two years ago, following the scandalous appointment of Mary McArdle. Getting to this point is most satisfying, not least because of the great sense of justice it has brought to innocent victims, who so often seem forgotten in a system where victim makers were feted and promoted because they were victim makers. But for the courage and tenacity of Ann Travers this great wrong would never have been righted.
“I now look forward to the full implementation of Ann’s Law.”