Re-designation Letters

– in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:00 pm on 12th November 2001.

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Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker 12:00 pm, 12th November 2001

I wish to advise Members that I received three letters dated 6 November from Members last Tuesday, each of which states:

"In accordance with Standing Order 3(8) as amended today, I give notice that I am changing my designation from ‘Unionist’ back to ‘Centre’ to take effect seven days from today."

The letters were signed by Mr David Ford, Mr Sean Neeson and Mrs Eileen Bell. In accordance with the revised Standing Orders, therefore, these Members will be re-designated as "Other", to take effect from Wednesday of this week.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Have you been assured that Mr Ford’s stomach will be back in good working condition after his re-designation back to the centre?

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

In this professional capacity, I do not generally enquire after the physical, or other, indisposition of Members, unless they bring it to my attention.

Photo of Mr Oliver Gibson Mr Oliver Gibson DUP

Mr Speaker, what was the position of Committees after Members’ re-designation? What was their legal status, given that the proportional balances that were put in place were altered? Are any decisions that were made during that period legally acceptable?

Photo of Lord John Alderdice Lord John Alderdice Speaker

Order. As far as Standing Orders are concerned, that point is wide of the issue. The membership of Committees is decided by a motion in the Assembly. There was no attempt to change that, and the detail of Committee membership is a matter for agreement and votes in the Assembly. I trust that that lays the matter to rest, although if the Member wishes further clarification, I will show him which Standing Orders apply, rather than take up the time of the House. The Member can take it from me that the functioning of Committees was not adversely affected.