tried again, failed again, failed better?

As I suggested might happen, Hain’s Committee the Preparation for Government Committee has tried again.. and failed again to select a chairman.. but they may have failed better. Or as the BBC report puts it “The Preparation for Government Committee remains deadlocked but there is more chance of reaching compromise”. Same time tomorrow, then?The options for a chairman of the committee under consideration are –

One idea under consideration is allowing the two deputy speakers Jim Wells of the DUP and Francie Molloy of Sinn Fein to share the post.

Another possible option is to allow NI Secretary Peter Hain to make an external appointment.

Also discussed was the temporary solution that Alliance, Ulster Unionists and SDLP rotate the chair for an initial period until the issue is resolved.

The speaker’s office is also under pressure to resolve the issue.

And they’ll be reconvening to try again, etc., tomorrow..

Meanwhile in the assembly, the Speaker has been carefully explaining to the UUP leader Reg Empey what was actually in the Northern Ireland Act that brought about the reconvening of the current asembly:

Mrs Bell explained that, under the Northern Ireland Act, Mr Hain had the power to refer whatever business he saw fit to be debated in the Assembly on the recommendation of the Business Committee.

She said there were three options open to the UUP leader.

He could take the matter up directly with Mr Hain, get his party`s representative on the Assembly Business Committee to propose that the committee makes a suitable recommendation to Mr Hain, or, thirdly, could table a motion for a debate on the issue urging the Northern Ireland Secretary to refer the power to decide when debates should take place and on what issues to MLAs.

She added: “Although such a motion would have to negotiate the very processes the member would like to change, ultimately the decision will be the Secretary of State`s to make.”


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