Assembly: Committee on Standing Orders

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 6:15 pm on 1st July 1998.

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Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Initial Presiding Officer 6:15 pm, 1st July 1998

I have no idea whether the Initial Presiding Officer has the power to indicate that someone may attend in that way until the matter has been resolved. I shall have to take advice. It is not a matter on which I sought a legal opinion in advance. I am certainly not antagonistic towards the proposition, but I will have to do two things in following it up: first, seek legal advice about whether I am in a position to take such action; secondly, consult the Whips of all the parties and, of course, the three Independents to see if what you suggest might be a way of resolving matters.

I certainly do not want to create difficulties, but it is crucial that we stick to the Initial Standing Orders, though we did not design them.