Assembly: Committee on Standing Orders

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 6:00 pm on 1st July 1998.

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Photo of Robert McCartney Robert McCartney UKUP 6:00 pm, 1st July 1998

Mr Initial Presiding Officer, I understood your first comment in response to Dr Paisley to be that the three Members do not have a right. You did not say that they have a right which they failed to exercise. In fact, you stated quite clearly, and quoted Standing Order 15(2) as saying, that each party with at least two Members shall have at least one seat on each Committee. A party with two Members is not limited to one place on a Committee. It could have two, but it must have at least one. So there is nothing whatever to prevent an individual from being represented on a Committee.

Initially you said that the individuals were not entitled at all, but you have moved to the subsidiary ground that the motion was not tabled in time. I submit that the Assembly can agree at this stage to make an amendment that is in accordance with all the rules of natural justice and does not contravene any of the preliminary Standing Orders.