Chairman David Davis said there had been 'a formidable struggle' with theNorthern Ireland Office to ensure the independence Northern Ireland Comptroller and Auditor General John Dowdall.
Dowdall - in evidence to the committee which has just been published, saidlegislation on devolution to Ulster's power-sharing Assembly - since heldup by the row over arms decomissioning - had strengthened his positionconsiderably.
The Bill makes it clear the status of the Northern Ireland National Audit Office cannot be changed by the assembly without further Westminster legislation. It also makes it clear Dowdall does not work to the Northern Ireland Executive and is independent of the Assembly.
He said: 'It has given me quite substantial safeguards against arbitrarydismissal, which is very reassuring.'Davis said former Northern Ireland Minister - now Welsh Secretary - PaulMurphy had been 'very supportive and helpful', but there had been 'quite astruggle' in 'back offices'.
Dowdall elaborated on arrangements being made for joint audits of cross-border bodies, reporting to the Dail in Dublin as well as to the assemblyin Belfast.
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