Standards and Privilege

Part of Assembly Standing Orders – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 8:15 pm on 9th March 1999.

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Photo of Robert Coulter Robert Coulter UUP 8:15 pm, 9th March 1999

I support amendment No 63 in the name of Mr Peter Robinson.

I listened to Mr Fee with great interest. There is one thing which we must take into account and that is the matter of inclusiveness on the Commission. In the House everyone is represented, but we do not have this inclusiveness on the Commission. The argument that the Commission is going to set up a number of House committees is very good, up to a point, but those smaller committees can only bring reports back to the Commission. It is in the Commission that the real decisions are to be made. If we are to support the concept of proportionality or inclusiveness, the smaller groupings in the House must be represented on the Commission. They will not have their rights to full expression and inclusive treatment if they are left out at the decision-making point.

I am not questioning at all the working of the Commission, and I do not think that anybody in the House is questioning that. What we are asking for is that the Commission reflect fully all the groupings in the Assembly. That groupings have a right to be there where decisions are being made. If they have that right at the Committee stage, they should also have that right on the Commission. I support amendment No 63.