Did Alderdice ever really exist?

Ian Paisley made an odd point of order yesterday. Alban Maginness pointed out to Willie Hay that Lord Alderdice made a ruling that points of order should not be made during a ministerial statement, or during questions on it. Paisley then said:

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Will you give some consideration as to how long the rulings of previous Speakers abide? Are those rulings eternal? Do we hold forever to the rulings of a person who sat in the Speaker’s Chair but was never elected to it by this House? Does there come a time to say “Amen” to those rulings and bury them?

In the unlikely event that Hay comes back and says that all precedent is out the window with the election of each new speaker, as seemingly requested by the First Minister (at least in his first two questions), it could make life quite interesting in the Assembly. Does Hay not have the power to simply change a ruling made by a previous Speaker as and when he sees fit?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The proceedings yesterday were a farce.

    Responding to Alban Maginness’ point, Peter Robinson insisted that when he spoke immediately after Ritchie,

    “Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Based on the terms used by the Member himself, is it not true that I did not make a point of order during the statement or questions?”

    .. despite insisting when he was speaking :

    “I am on a point of order.”

    It’s clear that Robinson likes playing silly buggers with the Standing Orders.

    What’s more, I’m not too impressed by the was Hay is running things as speaker. Watching the live broadcast, there are several cases where Robinson speaks directly to members of the House instead of addressing his remarks through the chair.

  • Rory

    I think perhaps all Assembly members would benefit if they were each to be given a copy of Walter, Lord Citrine’s definitive tome on the matter, The ABC of Chairmanship to study.

    That was the bible when I was chairing meetings and, though often challenged as to my rulings, I was never troubled by a successful challenge.

    Paisley is mistaken on his challenge. The rule governing when the raising of a point of order may be appropriate is not one to be determined by a current chairman, nor a ruling on such appropriatness by a former chairman to be deemed redundant, it is determined by the correct order of procedure that has been laid down in written rules and which needs be objective and sacrosanct.