Roll of Membership

Assembly Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:30 am on 15 May 2006.

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Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker 10:30, 15 May 2006

The next item of business on the Order Paper is the Roll of Membership. As required by Standing Order 3(a), a Member shall be regarded as having taken his or her seat only when he or she has signed the Roll of Membership. I do not therefore propose to take any points of order until after the Roll has been signed by all Members present.

I shall now explain the procedures that will be followed for the signing of the Roll. These have been discussed and agreed at meetings of the Business Committee.

In order to avoid the Chair being vacated, I will sign the Roll at the Speaker’s Table, after which the Roll will be placed on the table in front of me. I shall then invite Members of the Assembly to come forward in their party groupings to sign the Roll. I will call the parties in alphabetical order by name of the party. Independent Members will be called in alphabetical order at the end.

When your party name is called, I ask Members of that party to rise in their places and proceed through the Aye Lobby on my right. Members should then come forward to sign one of the two Roll pages placed on the table in front of the Speaker’s Table.

Members should enter today’s date, print and sign their name, and may enter a designation of identity. I draw Members’ attention to the provisions of Standing Order 3(e), regarding the designation of “Nationalist, Unionist or Other”. A Member who does not register a designation of identity will be deemed to be designated “Other” for the purposes of the Standing Orders.

The process of signing the Roll will take some time, and I ask Members for their patience during this procedure.

Clerk, if I may now sign the Roll.

Madam Speaker signed the Roll of Membership as follows:

Bell, Eileen              Other

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

Members of the Assembly, I should like to make a brief personal statement before others sign the Roll.

I consider it a great privilege to have been appointed to hold the office of Speaker of this Assembly. In any elected body, the office of Speaker draws much of its authority and dignity from the respect and co-operation of the Members, particularly in their relationship with the Chair. I hope that I can rely on your support as I try to uphold the values of the tradition. For my part, I will do my utmost to maintain your respect for the office of Speaker, and I trust that I can count on your co-operation.

Like each of you, I have been elected to serve my constituents and, in whatever role I can play in this place, to work for the best interests of all the people of Northern Ireland. I regard that as a greater privilege, and I commit myself to assisting you to perform that task on behalf of your own constituents and the wider community.

This Assembly has been established to make preparations for the restoration of devolved Government in Northern Ireland and a fully restored Assembly. How we conduct ourselves in this Chamber, and particularly in regard to each other, will contribute to our electorate’s view of our entitlement to hold office in that Assembly. That stands as both a challenge and a standard against which each one of us will be measured.

For my part, I want simply to state to you that I stand before you as a servant of the Assembly. I intend to follow the established precedent of not making political comment to the media; I intend to stand aside from party politics and to offer myself as a spokes­person for the Assembly, its collective will and particularly its secretariat, which has served us all so well.

I look forward to whatever time I will have in this position. I am indebted to you for your patience as I strive to serve you all.

We shall now proceed.

I invite Members of the Alliance Party to come forward to sign the Roll of Membership.

The following Members signed the Roll of Membership:

Close, Seamus             Other

Ford, David             Other

Long, Naomi             Other

McCarthy, Kieran    Other

Neeson, Sean              Other

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker 10:45, 15 May 2006

I invite Members of the Democratic Unionist Party to come forward to sign the Roll of Membership.

The following Members signed the Roll of Membership:

Beare, Norah         Unionist

Buchanan, Thomas Unionist

Campbell, Gregory Unionist

Clyde, Wilson         Unionist

Dawson, George         Unionist

Dodds, Diane         Unionist

Dodds, Nigel         Unionist

Donaldson, Jeffrey Unionist

Easton, Alex         Unionist

Ennis, George         Unionist

Foster, Arlene         Unionist

Girvan, Paul         Unionist

Hay, William         Unionist

Hilditch, David         Unionist

McCausland, Nelson Unionist

McCrea, William Unionist

Morrow, Maurice Unionist

Moutray, Stephen Unionist

Newton, Robin         Unionist

Paisley, Ian         Unionist

Paisley, Ian Jnr         Unionist

Poots, Edwin         Unionist

Robinson, George Unionist

Robinson, Iris         Unionist

Robinson, Mark         Unionist

Robinson, Peter         Unionist

Shannon, Jim         Unionist

Simpson, David         Unionist

Storey, Mervyn         Unionist

Weir, Peter         Unionist

Wells, Jim         Unionist

Wilson, Sammy          Unionist

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker 11:00, 15 May 2006

I invite Members of Sinn Féin to come forward to sign the Roll of Membership.

The following Members signed the Roll of Membership:

Adams, Gerry      Nationalist

Brolly, Francie      Nationalist

Clarke, Willie      Nationalist

Doherty, Pat      Nationalist

Dougan, Geraldine      Nationalist

Ferguson, Michael      Nationalist

Gildernew, Michelle      Nationalist

Hyland, Davy      Nationalist

Kelly, Gerry      Nationalist

McCann, Fra      Nationalist

McCartney, Raymond      Nationalist

McElduff, Barry      Nationalist

McGuigan, Philip      Nationalist

McGuinness, Martin      Nationalist

McLaughlin, Mitchel      Nationalist

Maskey, Alex      Nationalist

Molloy, Francie      Nationalist

Murphy, Conor      Nationalist

O’Dowd, John      Nationalist

O’Rawe, Pat      Nationalist

O’Reilly, Thomas      Nationalist

Ramsey, Sue      Nationalist

Ruane, Caitriona      Nationalist

Stanton, Kathy       Nationalist

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

I invite Members of the Social Democratic and Labour Party to come forward to sign the Roll of Membership.

The following Members signed the Roll of Membership:

Attwood, Alex      Nationalist

Bradley, Dominic      Nationalist

Bradley, Mary      Nationalist

Bradley, P J      Nationalist

Burns, Thomas      Nationalist

Dallat, John      Nationalist

Durkan, Mark      Nationalist

Farren, Seán      Nationalist

Gallagher, Tommy      Nationalist

Hanna, Carmel      Nationalist

Kelly, Dolores      Nationalist

Lewsley, Patricia      Nationalist

McDonnell, Alasdair      Nationalist

McGlone, Patsy      Nationalist

McMenamin, Eugene      Nationalist

Maginness, Alban Nationalist

Ramsey, Pat      Nationalist

Ritchie, Margaret       Nationalist

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker 11:15, 15 May 2006

I invite Members of the Ulster Unionist Party Assembly Group to come forward to sign the Roll of Membership.

The following Members signed the Roll of Membership:

Armstrong, Billy         Unionist

Beggs, Roy         Unionist

Bell, Billy         Unionist

Birnie, Esmond         Unionist

Burnside, David         Unionist

Cobain, Fred         Unionist

Copeland, Michael Unionist

Coulter, Robert         Unionist

Cree, Leslie         Unionist

Elliot, Tom         Unionist

Empey, Reg         Unionist

Ervine, David         Unionist

Gardiner, Samuel Unionist

Hillis, Norman         Unionist

Hussey, Derek         Unionist

Kennedy, Danny         Unionist

Kilclooney, The Lord  Unionist

McClarty, David         Unionist

McFarland, Alan  Unionist

McGimpsey, Michael Unionist

McNarry, David         Unionist

Nesbitt, Dermot         Unionist

Robinson, Ken         Unionist

Trimble, David         Unionist

Wilson, Jim          Unionist

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

I invite the Member from the United Kingdom Unionist Party to come forward to sign the Roll of Membership.

The following Member signed the Roll of Membership:

McCartney, Robert Unionist

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

I invite the Independent Unionist Member, Mr Paul Berry, to come forward to sign the Roll of Membership.

The following Member signed the Roll of Membership:

Berry, Paul          Unionist

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

I invite the Independent Member, Dr Kieran Deeny, to come forward to sign the Roll of Membership.

The following Member signed the Roll of Membership:

Deeny, Kieran              Other

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

Finally, I invite any Member present who has not already done so to come forward to sign the Roll of Membership.

I thank Members for their co-operation and patience during the signing of the Roll of Membership. The Roll will be located in the Chamber during sitting days to enable any Member who has not been able to sign the Roll to do so.

Standing Order 3(a) states that my decision as to whether a Member has taken his or her seat in accordance with the Standing Order is final. I can make that decision only after scrutinising all of the entries on the Roll. I intend to make an announcement on this matter at the start of the next meeting of the Assembly.

Photo of Peter Robinson Peter Robinson DUP 11:30, 15 May 2006

On a point of order, Madam Speaker. One of the other duties that you and your staff are expected to perform today is to publish a list of Members of each of the parties. Standing Orders are clear on the matter and refer to the:

“list of seats in the Assembly held by members of each party”.

They do not refer to a group or to those who are taking the whip of a particular party but to members of the party itself.

There are public indications that the Ulster Unionist Party intends that a Member for East Belfast, Mr Ervine, be a member of its group. Will you clarify the situation, either now or after you have taken counsel’s opinion? There are political implications — perhaps long into the future — with this matter and as to whether it falls within the interpretation of the Standing Order that deals with being a member of a party. I understand from the constitution rules of the Ulster Unionist Party that, in order to be a member of that political party, a person cannot be a member of any other political party.

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

I thank Mr Robinson for his point of order. It is a serious matter and has to be looked at very carefully. I will be taking counsel and I will, hopefully, be making a ruling at tomorrow’s sitting.

Photo of Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. Will you explain why you took the decision today to allow another Member to be incorporated under the Official Unionist banner?

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

I was provided with the information about party membership in accordance with Standing Order 3, and that information has been set out accurately in the published list.

Photo of Ian Paisley Ian Paisley Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

Further to that point of order, Madam Speaker. The list that we received showed:

Progressive Unionist Party

Members (1):

Mr David Ervine”.

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

That list was from Thursday. An updated list was issued after we received the list from the Ulster Unionist Party Assembly Group. That list should now be in your possession.

Photo of Eileen Bell Eileen Bell Speaker

It was circulated this morning before 9.30 am, which is in line with convention. However, as I said to your colleague, it is a serious matter that will be looked at.

Adjourned at 11.34 am.