Ministerial Code: Independent Investigation of Alleged Breaches

Part of Private Members' Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 4:45 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of David Ford David Ford Alliance 4:45 pm, 24th January 2017

All I can say is that I remember officials coming back into the Department and saying, "You wouldn't have been very pleased with what Trevor or Stewart said at the Committee yesterday, Minister". So, I do not think that that has been the case for my party, but when you get a party with three or four Members on a Committee of 11 working to defend their Minister, there are real questions as to how this operates when we discuss issues such as PAC and not policy decisions and when what the Minister has been doing is discussed in departmental Committees. Of course, fundamentally, we have seen the way in which the petition of concern has been deployed by a single party to protect a Minister in some difficulties. The notion that it would be acceptable to do that anywhere is just unacceptable. Why is it that behaviour that would see Ministers sacked in any other legislature on these islands seems to be a recipe to keep people in place, or possibly promote them, here?

I congratulate Steven Agnew for the work that he has been doing and on splitting up the Executive — although that is not terribly hard to do these days.