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Assembly Standing Orders

Part of the debate – in the Northern Ireland Assembly on 9th March 1999.

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Photo of Peter Robinson Peter Robinson DUP

I am comfortable with Mr Haughey’s proposal. As I have said, I have no emotional capital tied up in the wording of the Standing Order. We need to deal with it, but I would not like to keep it in and find that we are in conflict with the law. That is the last thing I should want.

Amendment No 16 seeks to replace "bill" with "Bill". I hope that there is no controversy over that proposal. Amendment No 15 is similar to an earlier amendment, inserting "on" in place of "in".

Amendment No 14 requires "main" options to be considered. I suspect that when a Department is preparing a Bill it considers a plethora of options. Some of them might not be seriously considered, but if the Department were required to include all the options the Bill would be a very untidy document. Simply to include the main propositions seems sensible. For consistency, a change is required to brackets in Standing Orders 37 and 38. I have not referred to those specifically as they should be included in the catch-all amendment at the beginning.

With regard to amendment No 13, there seems to be an assumption on the part of the drafter of the Standing Orders that there must be more than one reason for everything, because throughout the Standing Orders we have to give reasons. It should be "reason or reasons" in case there is only one reason. I am sure that the Women’s Coalition will applaud me for amendment No 12, in which I am being gender-sensitive. Mr Sammy Wilson helped me to word the amendment.

Regarding amendment No 11, it is not the responsibility of a Committee to "require" Departments to do anything. The person who is responsible for a Department is a Minister, and the Committee has direct control of the Minister, as the Assembly would. The amendment should tidy up the Standing Order.

Those are all the amendments in my name, and I beg to move them.