Standards and Privilege

Part of Assembly Standing Orders – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 9:30 pm on 9th March 1999.

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Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Initial Presiding Officer 9:30 pm, 9th March 1999

I have sought it but have received no clear legal advice on the matter. I can only reiterate what I said earlier, that the Standing Orders will be scrutinised by the Secretary of State who has a responsibility to ensure that the Assembly’s actions do not contravene any of the Government’s international obligations. That is clearly in the legislation.

The Secretary of State has a responsibility to ensure that Assembly legislation and the actions of Ministers do not contravene international obligations, and she will guide the Assembly on such matters. I will continue to seek legal advice but I have nothing further to add to what I said earlier on.

We shall now proceed to a formal cross-community vote on the final Question. As I said at the start, to facilitate as smooth a passage as possible I was prepared to take no dissent as indicating cross-community support, but only on the condition that at the end there would be a formal cross-community vote. [Interruption]

Order. I must ask Members to take their seats. We have been trying to contact the Secretary of State to get permission for an extension beyond 10.00 pm, but have so far been unsuccessful. Unless we proceed quickly those who wish to speak in the Adjournment debate will have very little time.