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Assembly Standing Orders

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 11:30 am on 9th March 1999.

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Photo of Jim Wells Jim Wells DUP 11:30 am, 9th March 1999

The hon Member is showing his inexperience. Scrutiny committees are there to see that justice is done for everyone. We as a party have never stood in the way of adequate scrutiny of the Executive. During the last Assembly from 1982 to 1986 we were the strongest proponents of scrutiny committees. The rights of every party in the House have to be guarded, and, as things stand, if we do not have some form of control over the central Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers, they will be able to ride roughshod over the rights of all the parties in the Assembly except their own.

I am deeply suspicious when Mr Haughey and Mr McFarland, who are known to be the lieutenants, the right-hand men, of the two Gentlemen concerned, are quick to their feet to say that we must wait for the considered views of Mr Trimble and Mr Mallon. It is only about a three-minute walk from their offices to the Chamber, so let us have them here, hear their considered views and vote on this important issue.