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 Alex Maskey Alex Maskey Sinn Féin 6:15 pm, 1st July 1998

Most Members who have spoken think that there are shortcomings in the interim Standing Orders. We raised some of these with you, Mr Initial Presiding Officer, with Paul Murphy and, indeed, with the Secretary of State. We are not satisfied with some aspects of the interim rules, but they are what we have at the moment.

I am heartened by the intensity with which the Democratic Unionist Party is defending the rights of Members. I hope that that augurs well for us all. The DUP is one of the parties that do not have what I would call a very good record. You, Sir, have been witness to some of its antics. But the best way to proceed is to debate the motion that you have moved. It is not perfect, but it is imperative that the work of the Committee be completed as quickly as possible.

We could all raise a host of issues, but this business must be done.

Sinn Fein will try to make sure that the Standing Orders enable the Assembly to function properly and fairly. The rights of all Members must be respected. We are circumscribed by the interim Standing Orders, but we must get the Committee going immediately.