Election of Speaker and Deputy Speakers

Assembly Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 12:00 pm on 14 February 2023.

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Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP 12:00, 14 February 2023

The first item of business is the election of the Speaker and Deputy Speakers. Section 39(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 provides that:

"Each Assembly shall as its first business elect from among its members a Presiding Officer and deputies."

Therefore, the Assembly cannot conduct any further business until a Speaker and at least two Deputy Speakers have been elected. Members should be clear: without the election of a Speaker and two Deputy Speakers, no further business can proceed. I advise Members that the election of the Speaker will be conducted under the procedures set out in Standing Order 4. Further to Standing Order 4(2), I am the Acting Speaker today for the purpose of electing a Speaker.

My sole responsibility is to preside over the election of a new Speaker. As the Speaker outlined yesterday in his correspondence to all Members, I will not take any points of order that do not relate to that specific matter. The Speaker also pointed out that the Assembly:

"should be mindful that many people watching the sitting today have a personal connection to the sensitive issues at stake ... I would ask all Members to take care that their tone, language and behaviour do justice to the serious issues involved."

I hope that that is clear and that all Members engage constructively in today's business.

I will begin by asking for nominations. Any Member may rise to propose that another Member be elected as Speaker. I will then ask for the proposal to be seconded by another Member, as required by Standing Order 14. I will then verify that the Member seconded is willing to accept the nomination. I will then ask for further proposals and follow the same procedure for each. When it appears that there are no further proposals, I will make it clear that the time for proposals has passed. If Members indicate that they wish to speak, a debate relevant to the election may then take place, during which Members will have up to five minutes to speak.

At the conclusion of the debate or the conclusion of the nominations, if there are no requests to speak, I shall put the Question that the Member first proposed shall be Speaker of the Assembly. The vote will be on a cross-community basis. If the proposal is not carried, I shall put the Question in relation to the next nominee and so on, until all nominations are exhausted. Once a Speaker is elected, all other nominations will fall automatically.

Do I have any proposals for the office of Speaker of the Assembly?

Photo of Doug Beattie Doug Beattie UUP

I propose my friend and colleague Mike Nesbitt.

Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP

Thank you. Do I have a seconder?

Photo of Robbie Butler Robbie Butler UUP

I second it.

Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP

Is Mr Nesbitt prepared to accept the nomination?

Photo of Mike Nesbitt Mike Nesbitt UUP

I am so prepared.

Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP

Thank you.

Are there any further proposals?

Photo of Colin McGrath Colin McGrath Social Democratic and Labour Party

I propose my colleague Mr Patsy McGlone MLA.

Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP

Thank you very much. Is that seconded?

Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP

Is Mr McGlone prepared to accept the nomination?

Photo of Patsy McGlone Patsy McGlone Social Democratic and Labour Party

Go raibh maith agat, a Cheann Comhairle. Glacaim leis an ainmniúchán.

[Translation: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I accept the nomination.]

Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP

Are there any further proposals?

The time for proposals has expired.

A number of Members have indicated that they wish to speak. I remind Members that they may speak only once in the debate. Members have up to five minutes in which to speak.

Photo of Michelle O'Neill Michelle O'Neill Sinn Féin

As this is the first opportunity that I have had to do so, I begin by expressing my condolences and sincerest sympathies to fellow Assembly Member Alex Easton on the recent death of his beloved parents. Like all of us gathered in the Chamber, I am sure, I was so saddened to learn of their sudden and untimely passing. I have no doubt that few words could adequately express what we want to offer to Alex at this time, but I wanted to let him know that our thoughts and prayers remain with him and his family at this time.

Secondly, I offer our solidarity to all those from Turkey and Syria who have made their home here and who have lost loved ones in the recent quake that has taken everything from them. In many communities, the dead outnumber the living, and, again, we send our love and solidarity to them all.

Thirdly, turning to today's business, I acknowledge the presence of little Dáithí Mac Gabhann up in the Gallery, along with his parents, Maírtín and Seph, who are no strangers to this place. They are here to look on as proceedings get under way, and they are very welcome here today.

Let me be clear that today is not a day for party politics. Today is about those of us who are legislators fulfilling our duty and delivering on the Organ and Tissue Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2022, or "Dáithí's law". Over 130 people are waiting for an organ. Ninety per cent of people in the North support organ donation, and every party in the Chamber supports that law.

There is little else to be said. The power is in the gift of each party and every MLA here to save lives by legislating in this place today. Put simply, not to do so is a dereliction of duty, and it is really disheartening to all the families who are involved. There is an onus on every one of us here today to work together and, most importantly, to give hope to all the families who need us to get this done.

Photo of Paul Givan Paul Givan DUP

I join Michelle O'Neill in welcoming Alex Easton to the Chamber and in offering, as we have done on behalf of the DUP, our condolences to him on the loss of his parents.

I am delighted to see Dáithí and his family, Maírtín and Seph, with us here today. I know that last week in Newcastle will have been a difficult time for them, but I can see that he is in fighting spirit. It is a pleasure to have him here in the Chamber. I have got to know the family from the time when I was made First Minister. It was one of the first issues that we had to deal with in the Executive. It had been stuck for a protracted period, and we were able to find a way forward to allow that legislation to proceed to the Assembly. That was an example of how this place can work effectively across all parties and deliver on legislation that can make a real difference to people.

I want to put it on record that the family have been fighting the campaign with great dignity. What they are doing is exactly what I would do if I were in their position: calling on the parties, the DUP and the Secretary of State and everybody else to get the law over the line. I want to say how much I admire the way in which they have fought their campaign.

The DUP supports organ donation. We encourage people to sign up to the register, and we support the legislation being brought into being. The Secretary of State and the other parties in this Chamber, however, know the DUP's position on the restoration of the institutions. They know the sustainable basis required for that to take place.

Unionism gave time and space for the Government to fulfil the commitments that they made three years ago when they signed up to the EU withdrawal agreement and to the commitments to restore Northern Ireland's place in the internal market, and they have failed to do so. Therefore, we are in a place that is regrettable but, nonetheless, was warned about. For a long time, we warned that the institutions would not be sustainable for as long as there was a failure to respect the premise on which they were built: the Belfast Agreement and the consent principle.

The Secretary of State has a responsibility to take the issue forward. His approach to handling it is to release statements to the media and then to say different things in private to political parties and to those who are concerned about it. He has indicated that he would support the measure going through Westminster, but, when he had the opportunity to include it in the legislation, he did not include it. He said that he would support MPs in tabling an amendment to it but then said publicly that they believe that that is not within the scope of the Bill. The Secretary of State is not handling the issue in a way that befits the office that he holds. I appeal to him to work in a manner that is much more constructive and apolitical than the approach that he has taken to date.

The Government have legislated on other issues — same-sex marriage, abortion and the Irish language. They were able to legislate on those issues, which were much more controversial than this one, on which we are united and which, collectively, all parties in the Chamber have called on the Secretary of State to pass at Westminster given that, in the absence of an Assembly and Executive, it remains the sovereign Parliament. I appeal to the Secretary of State: he can do this, and he should do it. Our MPs at Westminster will seek to bring the matter forward so that we can give effect to what the Assembly passed in its support of the organ and tissue Bill.

Photo of Naomi Long Naomi Long Alliance

Before I make my remarks on the election of a Speaker, I associate myself with the remarks of Michelle O'Neill and Paul Givan in extending our condolences to Alex Easton on the death of his parents.

I acknowledge at the outset that this is an emotional and difficult day for many people in our community. Young Dáithí and his family are, of course, at the forefront of our minds. They invested time, energy and passion in the campaign for the law, and all of us in the Chamber owe them a debt of gratitude. I am glad that they are here today. There are others, however, whom we do not know who face the same anxious wait and need change to be delivered now. Those who are waiting for life-saving transplant surgery and their loved ones are looking to us today to finish the work that we started together in the previous mandate and to offer them hope that a suitable organ can be found for transplantation.

The Organ and Tissue Donation (Deemed Consent) Act or "Dáithí's law", as we call it, offered the hope of an increase in the number of donors, but, for it to take effect, the regulations need to be affirmed by the Assembly. That is stated in the Act, and it is the fastest and best route to delivering on the promises that we made in that legislation. To do that, however, we first need to elect a Speaker. Today, Alliance will support each of the candidates who have had their name put forward. The issue for us is not who will be Speaker but that we elect one. That would open the door for the Assembly to pass the regulations and give people who are waiting for transplant surgery a better chance of survival. For them, this is a life-and-death issue.

I have heard in the Chamber and on the air waves that the DUP will not consent to the election of a Speaker. I appeal to it, even at this late stage, to reflect on what is at stake and on the message that it will send if we cannot elect a Speaker, even in these circumstances. For our part, whatever the outcome in the Chamber today, we remain absolutely committed to working with others here and in Westminster to deliver the regulations as soon as possible and to raise awareness and encourage people to have the conversation with their family about what should happen to their organs if they should pass away.

Our preference is clear: today is the right time, the Chamber is the right place, and now we need to do the right thing.

Photo of Robin Swann Robin Swann UUP 12:15, 14 February 2023

Often, we say in this place — I have heard it in discourse, especially over the past nine to 12 months — that we all want to keep politics out of health. Unfortunately, in the discourse leading up to the debate, it seems that we have been unable to keep health out of party politics. I want to start by welcoming the contributions of the three Members who have spoken so far, who have led the debate with the necessary tenor and tone. That is how the Act was brought through the Assembly. I remember it well. Long before the Act was delivered, my party colleague Jo-Anne Dobson attempted to bring through a private Member's Bill. Such legislation has not always had easy sailing through the Assembly. I want to quote Jo-Anne on where we are. She said, in a piece in today's 'Belfast Telegraph', that

"The delay ... is a bitter blow to so many of us who have spent decades campaigning for ... change. Opt-out encourages people to think and talk about becoming an organ donor, prompting discussions which can save lives. Disappointingly, these conversations are being drowned out by discussions around who is responsible, who should implement the bill, and where it should be implemented. These questions are immaterial to the people across Northern Ireland who are undergoing dialysis and are waiting for a kidney transplant or any organ transplant. They need to receive a message of hope".

That is what Dáithí's law was: an Act that offered the opportunity not just to save lives, but to change lives. I still have my copy here, which was actually signed by Dáithí on the day that it went through its Final Stage in the Assembly. I pay tribute to Dáithí and his parents for the way in which they brought forward their fight and campaign for the Act. That legislation was one of my proudest achievements as Health Minister, due to the way in which the Assembly was able to bring it through. The former First Minister referred to how quickly, once there was a change in mindset, this place reacted collectively to take the Bill through all its stages within seven months and see it produced as law.

The Act still sits on time and on schedule, but it needs the additional step of positive affirmation of regulations that have been laid by the Department of Health. I thank the Department of Health officials who have played their role in ensuring that everything is in line for the legislation to be fully enacted. It does not look like that will be done today, so I ask that the Secretary of State and those whom he listens to ensure that it goes through Westminster as seamlessly as it went through this place.

Our former First Minister talked about Dáithí, Máirtín and Seph, and especially about Dáithí's fighting spirit. The former First Minister and deputy First Minister will remember well the day when we met the family at Stormont Castle and told them that we were bringing forward the legislation. The fighting spirit that the former First Minister referred to was shown when Dáithí put a right hook on his chin. With regard to the legislation and the discourse that we have had on it, I am sure that many have wanted to be in the same position.

If we do not have the political ability to deliver commencement of the legislation today, I ask for surety from those who have influence and can actually make a difference by bringing legislation through Westminster. The former First Minister was right: we have seen the Secretary of State and Westminster act at pace on many other pieces of legislation. This should not be a stumbling block to him or Westminster. I would prefer that it was done in the Chamber, in the spirit in which the legislation was brought forward. However, if that is not to be, for those who are waiting on a life-saving transplant and those who would be able to be donors, let us not, in this place, fail them, but instead do all that we can to keep the tone and tenor with which this debate has started. The debate so far is a credit to the Members who have spoken in it and stands in contrast with some of the rancorous exchanges that we have heard in previous recalls.

The Act is not about that but about Dáithí Mac Gabhann, his family and others across Northern Ireland who are waiting on a transplant.

Photo of Colin McGrath Colin McGrath Social Democratic and Labour Party

On behalf of the SDLP, I associate myself with the earlier remarks to Alex and his family at this dreadful time for them.

I thank you, Mr Acting Speaker, for presiding over today's proceedings, but, respectfully, it should not be you in the Chair temporarily. By this stage, we should have our Speaker, elected by all of us to be able to conduct the business that we need to conduct in this place. The mandate for undertaking that business was granted to each and every one of us last May, and the fact that so many of us are being prevented from carrying out the most basic democratic process, that of electing a Speaker, is an absolute embarrassment.

The business that we are here to address today is not about party politics. It is not about me, the SDLP, Sinn Féin or the DUP. It is not about any of us. Rather, it is about the 134 families whose loved ones are watching us today while waiting on an urgent organ transplant and who have placed their faith in us to be able to make that possible.

A little over a year ago, I stood in this place and was proud to speak in support of the then Organ and Tissue Donation (Deemed Consent) Bill. It was a good day for this place. In putting aside our differences and acting in the best interests of all the people, we saw politics — the art of the possible — at its best, yet that legislative journey is incomplete. We have statutory rules and instruments that need commencement, and, without a Speaker, we have no Assembly and are thus unable to do that work.

We lost three years of the previous Assembly, when it was vital to get this really important legislation across the line. We have lost a year of this Assembly to try to complete the process. How many more times does this place have to say no when it should be saying yes?

SDLP MPs are working with other parties to explore every possible route to get the necessary legislation passed at Westminster, but the truth is that we are all here today and could therefore get this done today. We could set aside our differences and, for once, use the power and potential of this place to be able to help the people whom we represent.

Waiting for Westminster is the second-best option. Everyone who is on the transplant list deserves so much more than the second-best option. We can and should do better than that, because we understand the value of this place. If legislation can be enacted, it should be enacted here, and that legislation can be enacted here this week. There is an urgency to doing so, because up to 15 people on the organ transplant waiting list die each year needlessly. Today, 134 people are waiting on an organ transplant. For those people, every minute counts, and every day that we delay the legislation does not help their odds of getting a proper organ match.

I hasten to add that one of those people, and who is very near and very dear to many of us, is in the Public Gallery today. I am, of course, referring to Dáithí. In the past few years, Dáithí has taught each of us a valuable lesson in strength, resilience and superhuman will to overcome obstacles previously thought impossible to scale. He and his family have campaigned tirelessly to get this legislation. He has done all of that while, at six years of age, having had to wait four years on a heart.

Last year, we saw politics at its best. What will we see today? We have the power to act. We could elect a Speaker, lay the necessary motion, finish the legislation and help to save Dáithí's life and the lives of the other 133 people. What in the name of humanity is stopping us?

Photo of Jim Allister Jim Allister Traditional Unionist Voice

I join in the condolences to Alex Easton. It is good to see him here today in the difficult circumstances in which he and his family have found themselves.

Dáithí's law indisputably needs to be completed, and, until it is completed, I certainly urge as many citizens as possible to opt in to the donation service. However, Dáithí's law can only now be completed in the only operative legislature that is capable of doing it, and that is at Westminster. I urge the Secretary of State to stop politicking and get on with that mission. If Sinn Féin is sincere and so aghast about boycotts, let it be there to help vote this through. We will see then the depth of its sincerity and concern about Dáithí's law.

As for this place, I fear that the Supreme Court has helped to seal its fate. When the highest court in the land decrees that a key component of the Acts of Union is in suspension because the protocol is superior and supreme to it, there is a constitutional crisis and a dismantling of the Union that no unionist can ignore. What is the Union? The Union is a political union and it is an economic union. The political union from the Acts of Union lies in the creation of a single sovereign Parliament, and the economic union lies in the creation of a single economic unit within which there is to be free and unfettered trade between and within all parts of the United Kingdom. However, we now know, courtesy of the Supreme Court, that that key component — article 6 of the Acts of Union — has been subjugated. It is in suspension, and that is a fundamental assault upon the Union in which many of us on this side of the House believe. That is compounded by a ruling given in our own courts: the case of Rooney against Poots, just a few weeks ago. In that case, it was ruled that any Executive and the Ministers within it, by law, have to implement the protocol and the Irish Sea border. That is why no unionist can put their hand to the implementation of the self-destruction of the Union in which they believe, and that is why this place is in the condition that it is in.

As for the EU talks, they are not going to resolve this issue, because the sovereignty issue is not even on the table. Unless and until the sovereignty issue is addressed. it comes to this: under the protocol, Northern Ireland is within and subject to the EU's customs code, which means that GB is decreed a foreign country whose goods must be checked and that we are subject, colony-like, to laws that we do not make and cannot change. Unless and until those sovereignty issues are addressed, this place is doomed, and so it should be.

Photo of Gerry Carroll Gerry Carroll People Before Profit Alliance

I associate myself with the comments to wish Alex Easton well and to pass on our sympathies and with the comments about the people who have died in Turkey and Syria. We offer our condolences. I also extend my solidarity to the Member for Lagan Valley Sorcha Eastwood for the intimidation that she is facing from bigots and bullies. They will not intimidate her, and we all send our sympathy and support to her.

Today, my foremost thoughts are with young Dáithí, the Mac Gabhann family and all those waiting for the gift of organ donation. The Mac Gabhann family have conducted themselves with the utmost dignity in dealing with the blocking of Dáithí's law, particularly in their interactions with the DUP. Earlier this week, I heard Dáithí's father, Maírtín, describe the DUP's refusal to nominate a Speaker as disappointing, and it is. It is a disappointment that most of us share.

Knowing what is at stake here today, it is only fair to describe what we are about to witness as absolutely cruel. We are not just talking about disappointing a family, who have moved mountains to promote organ donation, we are not just talking about disappointing the people who have marched, protested and campaigned for this legislation. We are talking about a six-year-old boy who is waiting on a new heart and the many others who depend on transplants. People's lives are more important than the DUP's protocol protest, and anyone who listened to Maírtín on the BBC recently will have heard him talking about attending the funeral of a young boy who was waiting on a transplant — absolutely heartbreaking stuff. It makes it crystal clear that people on the donor list do not have time to lose.

We have all heard discussions about whether this legislation should be progressed through Stormont or Westminster, but opportunities are there for those who seize them. Both the DUP and the Tories are refusing to seize the opportunity to implement Dáithí's law. The regulations are set out. They are ready to go, and politicians should be exhausting every avenue to implement them. There should be no room for prevaricating now. The legislation has to be progressed.

Just like the DUP, the Tories have abdicated all responsibility for governing the North. The Tories have no problem with hurrying through legislation to change the election deadline, to break the trade unions and to deny victims justice. They should show some urgency in implementing Dáithí's law. That is my message to the Secretary of State today. Democracy has been put on hold by the DUP and their one-time Tory allies. If unionism's two biggest parties refuse to govern for the North within the Union, it shows that something is fundamentally wrong with this state. The absence of an Assembly cannot be an excuse for delaying life-saving organ donation legislation. The parties that take their seats in Westminster now have a job to do. That having been said, the failure to elect a Speaker today is just another stark reminder of how this institution is fundamentally broken. This Building, once a bastion of unionist dominance, is now a vestige to unionist obstructionism, political scandals, crises and a failure to deliver on the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people. The Mac Gabhann family and the organ donation community are just the latest in a long line of people who have been failed by this institution.

People will remember that the Irish language legislation, reproductive rights and equal marriage were all delivered in spite of these institutions, which have been paralysed by sectarianism and blighted by a rotten economic agenda. It must be remembered that the primary legislation for Dáithí's law may have been brought through Stormont, but it was not delivered by Stormont. It was delivered by Dáithí, Maírtín, Seph and the countless people across our communities who took to the streets and campaigned for the cause. This secondary legislation will be delivered in the same manner.

Next week, teachers, health workers, university workers and more will take to the picket lines to demand fair pay and a better deal for all. They are forging ahead without Stormont, which failed to invest in workers and the public services that we rely on. As with public-sector workers taking to the picket lines, the blocking of soft opt-out organ donation is an indictment of mainstream politics here. The Mac Gabhann family, the organ donation community and working-class people in general have every right to be proud: proud of the fact that politicians are being dragged, kicking and screaming, to discuss the issues that they would often rather ignore; proud of how far they have come in that fight; and proud in the knowledge that progress will win out eventually, with or without Stormont. Keep up the fight. Beir bua.

[Translation: Be victorious.]

Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP 12:30, 14 February 2023

No other Members have indicated that they wish to speak.

Question put, That Mr Mike Nesbitt be Speaker of this Assembly. The Assembly divided:

<SPAN STYLE="font-style:italic;"> Ayes 25; Noes 26



Mr Allen, Mr Beattie, Mr Butler, Mr Elliott, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Stewart, Mr Swann


Ms Armstrong, Mr Blair, Ms Bradshaw, Mr Brown, Mr Carroll, Mr Dickson, Mr Donnelly, Ms Eastwood, Ms Egan, Mr Honeyford, Mrs Long, Ms McAllister, Mr McReynolds, Mr Mathison, Mr Muir, Ms Nicholl, Dr O'Lynn, Mr Tennyson

Tellers for the Ayes: Mr Butler, Mr Stewart



Mr Allister, Mr Bradley, Mr Brett, Mr Brooks, Mr K Buchanan, Mr T Buchanan, Mr Buckley, Ms Bunting, Mrs Cameron, Mr Clarke, Mrs Dodds, Mr Dunne, Mr Easton, Mrs Erskine, Ms Forsythe, Mr Frew, Mr Givan, Mr Harvey, Mr Irwin, Mr Kingston, Mrs Little-Pengelly, Mr Lyons, Miss McIlveen, Mr Middleton, Mr Poots, Mr Robinson

Tellers for the Noes: Mrs Erskine, Mr Kingston

<TR><TD>Total Votes
51Total Ayes25[49.0%]
Nationalist Votes0Nationalist Ayes0[NaN%]
Unionist Votes33Unionist Ayes7[21.2%]
Other Votes18Other Ayes18[100.0%]
<BR/>The following Members voted in both Lobbies and are therefore not counted in the result: Mr Durkan, Ms Hunter, Mr McCrossan, Mr McGlone, Mr McGrath, Ms McLaughlin, Mr McNulty, Mr O'Toole

Question accordingly negatived (cross-community vote).

Question put, That Mr Patsy McGlone be Speaker of this Assembly.

Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP

I have been advised by the party Whips that, in accordance with Standing Order 27(1A)(b), there is agreement that we can dispense with the three minutes and move straight to the Division.

The Assembly divided:

<SPAN STYLE="font-style:italic;"> Ayes 49; Noes 28



Dr Archibald, Mr Baker, Mr Boylan, Ms Brogan, Mr Delargy, Mr Durkan, Ms Ennis, Ms Ferguson, Mr Gildernew, Ms Hargey, Ms Hunter, Mr Kearney, Mr Kelly, Ms Kimmins, Mr McAleer, Mr McCrossan, Mr McGlone, Mr McGrath, Mr McGuigan, Mr McHugh, Ms McLaughlin, Mr McNulty, Mrs Mason, Ms Á Murphy, Ms Ní Chuilín, Mr O'Dowd, Mrs O'Neill, Mr O'Toole, Miss Reilly, Mr Sheehan, Ms Sheerin


Ms Armstrong, Mr Blair, Ms Bradshaw, Mr Brown, Mr Carroll, Mr Dickson, Mr Donnelly, Ms Eastwood, Ms Egan, Mr Honeyford, Mrs Long, Ms McAllister, Mr McReynolds, Mr Mathison, Mr Muir, Ms Nicholl, Dr O'Lynn, Mr Tennyson

Tellers for the Ayes: Ms Hunter, Mr McNulty



Mr Allister, Mr Bradley, Mr Brett, Mr Brooks, Mr K Buchanan, Mr T Buchanan, Mr Buckley, Ms Bunting, Mrs Cameron, Mr Clarke, Mrs Dodds, Mr Dunne, Mr Easton, Mr Elliott, Mrs Erskine, Ms Forsythe, Mr Frew, Mr Givan, Mr Harvey, Mr Irwin, Mr Kingston, Mrs Little-Pengelly, Mr Lyons, Miss McIlveen, Mr Middleton, Mr Poots, Mr Robinson, Mr Swann

Tellers for the Noes: Mrs Erskine, Mr Kingston

<TR><TD>Total Votes
77Total Ayes49[63.6%]
Nationalist Votes31Nationalist Ayes31[100.0%]
Unionist Votes28Unionist Ayes0[0.0%]
Other Votes18Other Ayes18[100.0%]
<BR/>The following Members voted in both Lobbies and are therefore not counted in the result: Mr Beattie, Mr Butler, Mr Nesbitt, Mr Stewart

Question accordingly negatived (cross-community vote).

Photo of Alan Chambers Alan Chambers UUP

The Assembly has been unable to elect a Speaker today and has been unable to conduct its first business. Therefore, we can proceed no further. Any further sittings of the Assembly can be held only to first elect a Speaker and Deputy Speakers. Under section 39(2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the current Speaker remains in office until a successor is elected. I therefore propose, by leave of the Assembly, to adjourn the sitting until a future date, the details of which will be communicated to Members in due course.

I take the opportunity to place on record my thanks and appreciation to Members for how the proceedings have been conducted today. Thank you.

Adjourned at 12.58 pm.