“DUP motion in favour of reducing the number of departments has been tabled..”

It is only their first report and some major issues remain unresolved but, as Mark Devenport tells us, the Assembly and Executive Review Committee’s report on policing and justice powers will be debated in the Assembly on Tuesday next week. He notes

Although the First and Deputy First Ministers say there should be no undue delay in devolving justice we are still none the wiser on when this might happen. One source suggested to me today that November might be a possibility.

And it might.. provided there is agreement between the political parties (as you well know).. There’s another interesting point though

Adding a Justice department will once again open up the whole question of whether, with 14 ministers and 11 departments, we already have too many departments at Stormont. It’s understood the Assembly Executive and Review Committee has agreed to consider this and a DUP motion in favour of reducing the number of departments has been tabled for debate on Monday.

Have the power-grabbing semi-detached polit-bureau agreed that too?
The minutes of the Review Committee’s latest meeting isn’t online yet but the minutes of the previous meeting, on 15th December 2008, shows they are agreeing on some things.. [Like not to ask stupid questons – Ed]

Question put: That this Committee writes to the First Minister and deputy First Minister with the following three questions:

Is the public consultation consistent with section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act, and will it involve the normal 12-week period for consultation?
What actions contained in the process paper are sequential, and which are concurrent?
Is there any process for the identification of a candidate for Minister of Justice, beyond nominations from Members of the Assembly?

The Committee divided, Ayes 3; Noes 7.

Ayes

Alex Attwood
Carmel Hanna
Alan McFarland

Noes

Jimmy Spratt
Raymond McCartney
Simon Hamilton
Nelson McCausland
Alex Maskey
John O’Dowd
Ian Paisley Jnr

The proposal accordingly fell.