Assembly: Election of Deputy Speakers

– in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 11:45 am on 31st January 2000.

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Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker 11:45 am, 31st January 2000

I now move to the procedure for the election of three Deputy Speakers under Standing Order 5. Standing Order 5 requires that three Deputy Speakers "shall be elected".

I will remind Members of the procedure to be followed. Any Member can rise to propose that another Member be elected as Deputy Speaker. This must then be seconded by another Member, and I will have to check that the Member so nominated is willing to accept the nomination. I will then ask if there are any further proposals, and I will continue to do that until it appears that there are no further proposals. I will then say that the time for proposals is past. If the House wishes, there may be a brief debate.

At the conclusion of the debate, or at the conclusion of the nominations if there is no debate, I shall put the Question that the Member first proposed shall be a Deputy Speaker of this Assembly. Such a vote will have to be taken on a cross-community basis, and the Lobbies will be used for that. We will then proceed through all of those nominated in turn until three Deputy Speakers are elected. Of course, it is possible that no Deputy Speaker will be elected, because each nominee requires cross-community support, but I do not think that that will happen. Once three Deputy Speakers have been elected, any other nominations will fall. The Standing Orders are clear on that.

Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds DUP

I second that nomination.

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

Mr Hay, do you accept the nomination?

Photo of William Hay William Hay DUP

I accept the nomination.

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

Mr McClelland, do you accept the nomination?

Photo of Jim Wilson Jim Wilson UUP

I propose Sir John Gorman for the office of Deputy Speaker.

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

Sir John, do you accept the nomination?

Photo of Sir John Gorman Sir John Gorman UUP

I accept the nomination.

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Alliance

I propose Ms Jane Morrice for the position of Deputy Speaker.

Photo of Mr Denis Watson Mr Denis Watson UUAP

I second that nomination.

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

Ms Morrice, do you accept the nomination?

Photo of Ms Jane Morrice Ms Jane Morrice NIWC

I accept the nomination.

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

Are there any further nominations?

The time for nominations is up.

The four Members who have been proposed and seconded have accepted their nominations. I will put, in turn, the Question that each Member be accepted. Divisions will be on a cross-community basis.

Question put

The Assembly divided: Ayes 29; Noes 63.

AYES

Unionist

Fraser Agnew, Pauline Armitage, Paul Berry, Norman Boyd, Gregory Campbell, Mervyn Carrick, Wilson Clyde, Nigel Dodds, Boyd Douglas, Oliver Gibson, William Hay, David Hilditch, Roger Hutchinson, Gardiner Kane, William McCrea, Maurice Morrow, Ian Paisley Jnr, Ian R K Paisley, Edwin Poots, Iris Robinson, Mark Robinson, Peter Robinson, Patrick Roche, Jim Shannon, Denis Watson, Peter Weir, Jim Wells, Cedric Wilson, Sammy Wilson.

NOES

Nationalist

Alex Attwood, P J Bradley, Joe Byrne, John Dallat, Arthur Doherty, Pat Doherty, Mark Durkan, Sean Farren, John Fee, Tommy Gallagher, Michelle Gildernew, Carmel Hanna, Denis Haughey, Joe Hendron, John Hume, John Kelly, Patricia Lewsley, Alban Maginness, Seamus Mallon, Donovan McClelland, Alasdair McDonnell, Barry McElduff, Eddie McGrady, Gerry McHugh, Mitchel McLaughlin, Eugene McMenamin, Conor Murphy, Mary Nelis, Danny O’Connor, Dara O’Hagan, Eamonn ONeill, Sue Ramsey, Brid Rodgers, John Tierney.

Unionist

Ian Adamson, Billy Bell, Tom Benson, Esmond Birnie, Joan Carson, Fred Cobain, Robert Coulter, Duncan Shipley Dalton, Ivan Davis, Reg Empey, John Gorman, Danny Kennedy, James Leslie, David McClarty, Alan McFarland, Michael McGimpsey, Dermot Nesbitt, Ken Robinson, George Savage, John Taylor, David Trimble, Jim Wilson.

Other

Eileen Bell, Seamus Close, David Ford, Kieran McCarthy, Monica McWilliams, Jane Morrice, Sean Neeson.

Total Votes 92 Total Ayes 29 (31·5%)

Nationalist Votes 34 Nationalist Ayes 0 (0%)

Unionist Votes 51 Unionist Ayes 29 (56·9%)

Question accordingly negatived.

Question put

The Assembly divided: Ayes 66; Noes 28.

AYES

Nationalist

Alex Attwood, P J Bradley, Joe Byrne, John Dallat, Arthur Doherty, Pat Doherty, Mark Durkan, Sean Farren, John Fee, Tommy Gallagher, Michelle Gildernew, Carmel Hanna, Denis Haughey, Joe Hendron, John Hume, John Kelly, Patricia Lewsley, Alban Maginness, Seamus Mallon, Donovan McClelland, Alasdair McDonnell, Barry McElduff, Eddie McGrady, Gerry McHugh, Eugene McMenamin, Mary Nelis, Danny O’Connor, Dara O’Hagan, Eamonn ONeill, Sue Ramsey, Brid Rodgers, John Tierney.

Unionist

Ian Adamson, Pauline Armitage, Billy Armstrong, Roy Beggs, Billy Bell, Tom Benson, Esmond Birnie, Joan Carson, Robert Coulter, Duncan Shipley Dalton, Ivan Davis, Reg Empey, David Ervine, John Gorman, Derek Hussey, Billy Hutchinson, Danny Kennedy, James Leslie, David McClarty, Alan McFarland, Michael McGimpsey, Dermot Nesbitt, Ken Robinson, George Savage, John Taylor, David Trimble, Jim Wilson.

Other

Eileen Bell, Seamus Close, David Ford, Kieran McCarthy, Monica McWilliams, Jane Morrice, Sean Neeson.

NOES

Unionist

Fraser Agnew, Paul Berry, Norman Boyd, Gregory Campbell, Mervyn Carrick, Wilson Clyde, Nigel Dodds, Boyd Douglas, Oliver Gibson, William Hay, David Hilditch, Roger Hutchinson, Gardiner Kane, William McCrea, Maurice Morrow, Ian Paisley Jnr, Ian R K Paisley, Edwin Poots, Iris Robinson, Mark Robinson, Peter Robinson, Patrick Roche, Jim Shannon, Denis Watson, Peter Weir, Jim Wells, Cedric Wilson, Sammy Wilson.

Total Votes 94 Total Ayes 66 (70·2%)

Nationalist Votes 32 Nationalist Ayes 32 (100%)

Unionist Votes 55 Unionist Ayes 27 (49·1%)

Question accordingly agreed to (by cross-community consent).

Resolved:

That Mr Donovan McClelland be a Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.

Question put

The Assembly divided: Ayes 67; Noes 26.

Ayes

Nationalist

Alex Attwood, P J Bradley, Joe Byrne, John Dallat, Arthur Doherty, Pat Doherty, Mark Durkan, Sean Farren, John Fee, Tommy Gallagher, Michelle Gildernew, Carmel Hanna, Denis Haughey, Joe Hendron, John Hume, John Kelly, Patricia Lewsley, Alban Maginness, Seamus Mallon, Donovan McClelland, Alasdair McDonnell, Barry McElduff, Eddie McGrady, Gerry McHugh, Eugene McMenamin, Mary Nelis, Danny O’Connor, Dara O’Hagan, Eamonn ONeill, Sue Ramsey, Brid Rodgers, John Tierney.

Unionist

Ian Adamson, Pauline Armitage, Billy Armstrong, Roy Beggs, Billy Bell, Tom Benson, Esmond Birnie, Joan Carson, Robert Coulter, Duncan Shipley Dalton, Ivan Davis, Reg Empey, David Ervine, John Gorman, Derek Hussey, Billy Hutchinson, Danny Kennedy, James Leslie, David McClarty, Alan McFarland, Michael McGimpsey, Dermot Nesbitt, Ken Robinson, George Savage, John Taylor, David Trimble, Peter Weir, Jim Wilson.

Other

Eileen Bell, Seamus Close, David Ford, Kieran McCarthy, Monica McWilliams, Jane Morrice, Sean Neeson.

Noes

Unionist

Paul Berry, Norman Boyd, Gregory Campbell, Mervyn Carrick, Wilson Clyde, Nigel Dodds, Boyd Douglas, Oliver Gibson, William Hay, David Hilditch, Roger Hutchinson, Gardiner Kane, William McCrea, Maurice Morrow, Ian Paisley Jnr, Ian R K Paisley, Edwin Poots, Iris Robinson, Mark Robinson, Peter Robinson, Patrick Roche, Jim Shannon, Denis Watson, Jim Wells, Cedric Wilson, Sammy Wilson.

Total Votes 93 Total Ayes 67 (72%)

Nationalist Votes 32 Nationalist Ayes 32 (100%)

Unionist Votes 54 Unionist Ayes 28 (51·9%)

Question accordingly agreed to (by cross-community consent).

Resolved:

That Sir John Gorman be a Deputy Speaker of the Assembly.

Question put

The Assembly divided: Ayes 66; Noes 28.

Ayes

Nationalist

Alex Attwood, P J Bradley, Joe Byrne, John Dallat, Arthur Doherty, Pat Doherty, Mark Durkan, Sean Farren, John Fee, Tommy Gallagher, Carmel Hanna, Denis Haughey, Joe Hendron, John Hume, John Kelly, Patricia Lewsley, Alban Maginness, Seamus Mallon, Donovan McClelland, Alasdair McDonnell, Barry McElduff, Eddie McGrady, Martin McGuinness, Gerry McHugh, Eugene McMenamin, Mary Nelis, Danny O’Connor, Dara O’Hagan, Eamonn ONeill, Sue Ramsey, Brid Rodgers, John Tierney.

Unionist

Ian Adamson, Billy Armstrong, Roy Beggs, Billy Bell, Tom Benson, Esmond Birnie, Joan Carson, Robert Coulter, Duncan Shipley Dalton, Ivan Davis, Reg Empey, David Ervine, John Gorman, Derek Hussey, Billy Hutchinson, Danny Kennedy, James Leslie, David McClarty, Alan McFarland, Michael McGimpsey, Dermot Nesbitt, Ken Robinson, George Savage, John Taylor, David Trimble, Denis Watson, Jim Wilson.

Other

Eileen Bell, Seamus Close, David Ford, Kieran McCarthy, Monica McWilliams, Jane Morrice, Sean Neeson.

Noes

Unionist

Fraser Agnew, Pauline Armitage, Paul Berry, Norman Boyd, Gregory Campbell, Mervyn Carrick, Wilson Clyde, Nigel Dodds, Boyd Douglas, Oliver Gibson, William Hay, David Hilditch, Roger Hutchinson, Gardiner Kane, William McCrea, Maurice Morrow, Ian Paisley Jnr, Ian R K Paisley, Edwin Poots, Iris Robinson, Mark Robinson, Peter Robinson, Patrick Roche, Jim Shannon, Peter Weir, Jim Wells, Cedric Wilson, Sammy Wilson.

Total Votes 94 Total Ayes 66 (70·2%)

Nationalist Votes 32 Nationalist Ayes 32 (100%)

Unionist Votes 55 Unionist Ayes 27 (49·1%)

Question accordingly agreed to (by cross-community consent).

Resolved:

That Ms Jane Morrice be a Deputy Speaker of the Assembly

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

I formally declare that Mr McClelland, Sir John Gorman and Ms Morrice have been elected Deputy Speakers.

Photo of Peter Robinson Peter Robinson DUP

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I ask you to look at Standing Order 4(7), which says

"Where the Assembly is unable to elect a Speaker under the foregoing provisions of this Standing Order, but where a Deputy Speaker has been elected by virtue of Standing Order 5, the Deputy Speaker shall act as Speaker. In the case of more than one Deputy Speaker being elected they shall act in turn until a Speaker is elected."

Members have been unable to elect a Speaker. Can you tell us how the Assembly’s future business will be affected by this Standing Order?

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

Mr Robinson and his Colleague beside him have an unrivalled knowledge of Standing Orders, ‘Erskine May’ and other matters relating to parliamentary practice.

They also have an unparalleled capacity for selective quotation with regard to these matters. The situation under the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which is over and above the Standing Orders, is that anyone who was an office holder of the type described at the point of devolution was, by the transitional clauses of the Act, deemed to be Speaker. Furthermore, any proposal would have to be on an Order Paper, and it would then fall foul of another problem: at present Standing Orders allow for the proposal of a new Speaker only if the last Speaker has been removed by death, resignation or through the dissolution of the Assembly. At this juncture I have no plans to facilitate Members in this regard. [Laughter]

The sitting was suspended at 12.52 pm.

On resuming —