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 Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party 6:00 pm, 1st July 1998

On a point of order, Mr Initial Presiding Officer. The Assembly has a right to honour everyone in it, and there is nothing in the Standing Orders against our putting anyone on this Committee — nothing whatsoever. As the then solitary member of my party in the House of Commons I was given my place. And I reminded Mr McGrady today of how some of his members in the same position were not passed over.

It would be scurrilous of this Assembly not to recognise three Members who need a voice on all Committees. I protest vigorously that they were not told about any of the arrangements. The reason they were so treated is that they were against the Agreement. It was a political decision. A nominee of their choice should be added to this Committee.

Some other Members would be up in arms if they were excluded in this way. Let us remember what happened in the Forum. Fair is fair. These three Members deserve to be represented.