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 Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party 6:15 pm, 1st July 1998

The Initial Presiding Officer told us, and we believe what he says until we have reason to do otherwise.

I want to know why the representation of the Social Democratic and Labour Party was changed. Also, the Democratic Unionist Party, with 20 Members, has the same representation as Sinn Fein, which has 18 Members. That is unfair, and it must be looked into. The way in which this motion has been handled is obstructing the Assembly’s business.

I regret the attitude of some people. The three Members in question need representation. They do not know what is going on. I would go along with Mr McGrady’s proposal. It is better than nothing, though the Independents should be there by right. I would understand it if this motion were defeated and another one proposed. That would be quite in order. The Secretary of State would be unlikely to quibble if that were the wish of the Assembly, which she says she wants to bolster.