§ Mr. Mandelson
On 10 July I wrote to the leaders of the political parties in Northern Ireland requesting their views on the flying of flags in Northern Ireland. I considered all of the points made by the parties before preparing draft Regulations, which I then sent to the Northern Ireland Assembly for its consideration as I was required to do by the Flags (Northern Ireland) Order 2000. The Assembly reported its view to me on 18 October. I considered the Assembly's Report, and the views of the parties set out within it very carefully, before laying draft Regulations before Parliament on 23 October.