Operations of the Assembly

Part of Assembly Standing Orders – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:30 pm on 8th March 1999.

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Photo of Peter Robinson Peter Robinson DUP 4:30 pm, 8th March 1999

I am quite content with that. As I have already mentioned to some Members, most of these were drafted either on a flight to or from London at the weekend. Section 6(2) deals with excepted matters but does not include reserved matters which should not be the subject of petitions either. Your advice is sound.

It is a fairly matter-of-fact amendment simply to take account of the fact that nobody should be entitled to petition the Assembly on a matter over which the Assembly does not have any power. That may be our working practice, but it will make matters much easier for Members who will undoubtedly be asked to present petitions on all sorts of issues, some of which may be security related. I was asked today to sign one which I suspect may be outside the Assembly’s competence. There will be a series of issues, and it is better to be able to give the clear answer that it is not within the competence of a Member to bring a petition of that nature to the Assembly.

I trust that the amendment, as redirected, can be approved. I have one comment on the amendments in the name of the First Minister (Designate). I hope that the Committee is right in its judgement. I fear that he is right, and I rather suspect that he will be able to smile broadly at some later stage when we shall undoubtedly have to revisit the issue. We will not get it right first time, but if it is possible to work on what seems to me to be the most appropriate basis, we should do that. Let us see if it works while recognising that we may have to revisit this issue.

We must also appreciate that constituency Members have other duties. I have no doubt that it is not because Ulster Unionist Members want to lie in bed on a Monday morning that the amendment was tabled. I think that there are genuine reasons for it and that in the fullness of time many of us will have to accept them.

Standing Order 7 (Proccedings to be held in public) agreed to.

Standing Order 8 (Prayers) agreed to.

Standing Order 9 (Quorum)

Amendment (No 37) proposed:

"The business adjourned shall be the first business when the Assembly next sits"

Question put

The Assembly divided: Ayes 62; Noes 25.

AYES

Nationalist

Alex Attwood, P J Bradley, Joe Byrne, John Dallat, Ms Bairbre de Brún, Arthur Doherty, Mark Durkan, Sean Farren, John Fee, Tommy Gallagher, Ms Carmel Hanna, Denis Haughey, Dr Joe Hendron, John Kelly, Mrs Patricia Lewsley, Alban Maginness, Donovan McClelland, Dr Alasdair McDonnell, Eddie McGrady, Gerry McHugh, Eugene McMenamin, Pat McNamee, Francie Molloy, Conor Murphy, Danny O’Connor, Ms Dara O’Hagan, Eamon ONeill, Mrs Sue Ramsey, Ms Brid Rodgers, John Tierney.

Unionist

Fraser Agnew, Paul Berry, Norman Boyd, Gregory Campbell, Mervyn Carrick, Wilson Clyde, Nigel Dodds, David Ervine, Oliver Gibson, William Hay, David Hilditch, Billy Hutchinson, Roger Hutchinson, Gardiner Kane, Robert McCartney, Rev William McCrea, Maurice Morrow, Ian Paisley Jnr, Edwin Poots, Mrs Iris Robinson, Mark Robinson, Peter Robinson, Patrick Roche, Jim Shannon, Jim Wells, Cedric Wilson, Sammy Wilson.

Other

Seamus Close, David Ford, Kieran McCarthy, Ms Monica McWilliams, Ms Jane Morrice.

NOES

Unionist

Dr Ian Adamson, Ms Pauline Armitage, Billy Armstrong, Roy Beggs, Billy Bell, Esmond Birnie, Mrs Joan Carson, Fred Cobain, Rev Robert Coulter, Duncan Shipley Dalton, Ivan Davis, Sir Reg Empey, Sam Foster, Sir John Gorman, Derek Hussey, Danny Kennedy, James Leslie, David McClarty, Alan McFarland, Michael McGimpsey, Dermot Nesbitt, Ken Robinson, George Savage, Rt Hon David Trimble, Peter Weir.