Extension of Sitting

Part of Assembly Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:00 pm on 16th January 2017.

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Photo of Stephen Farry Stephen Farry Alliance 4:00 pm, 16th January 2017

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Arising from your recent clarification to Mr Allister's point and, indeed, the content of Mr Allister's point of order itself, it is clear that debate on the Floor of the Assembly is not a substitute for the more detailed scrutiny that can lie in the Committee, in particular on receipt of any report from the Examiner of Statutory Rules. We are in this situation today because of the assumption that, in effect, we are right up against the clock with any potential passing of these regulations by the Assembly. However, it does seem likely, indeed probable, that there will be further sittings of the Assembly, whether this week or at the beginning of next week.

I want to ask clarification on two points from you, Mr Deputy Speaker. First, will you clarify that there will indeed be a meeting of the Business Committee tomorrow and that there is the potential for this business to be rescheduled for another point either this week or, indeed, next week if the Minister were to seek to take that opportunity? Secondly, will you provide clarification on, in the event that the Minister moves ahead to formally move the statutory rule in a few minutes' time and, upon reflection, hears the views from different corners of the House and decides that it would be better that the issue be deferred to another time, what mechanism exists for that to be done? Alternatively, is it the situation that, once the SR is formally moved, we are on track to having a vote on it this evening, which is a most unsatisfactory situation?