This apparently arcane matter is nonetheless worth noting, not least for the way it highlights the low level civil war that’s been going on in the Chamber between the SDLP’s only Minister and the Sinn Fein Assembly party. The matter in question is a parity piece of legislation designed to bring certain matters in line with Westminster, with the Minister using ‘accelerated passage’ (ie avoiding the committee stage) to get it through before recess. She’s clearly expecting an attack beforehand since she restates her reasons for using accelerated passage twice. And it comes.The objection seems to be about the use of accelerated passage, even though they support the bill for the reasons outlined by the Minister. However, later in the session, two Sinn Fein MLAs Mickey Brady and Fra McCann feel compelled to make their point again:
Though, again, it’s no clearer what the party’s original criticism substantively meant. The Minister took the opportunity (again, twice) to suggest Sinn fein would get better value for its constituents (and presumably the Assembly at large) if it were to take its seats in Westminster and play its part in scrutinising the primary legislation at source.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty