“Run like a huckster’s shop”

That’s the Northern Ireland Minister for Employment and Learning the UUP’s Reg Empey’s verdict on the dysfunctional NI Executive. [So what’s the alternative? – Ed]. His comments came after the NI Finance Minister, the DUP’s Nigel Dodds, blamed the two UUP members of the Executive for his deferral of a scheduled statement in the Assembly on the June budget monitoring round – a written statement is expected later in the summer. According to Reg Empey that decision was made because he only received the complicated 30 page document on the monitoring round 90 minutes prior to the Executive meeting where it was to be discussed, along with another 100 page document. It is also reported that the meeting of ministers’ representatives, which used to take place a week prior to the Executive meeting, no longer occurs. No doubt the semi-detached polit-bureau still meets on a regular basis.. Adds Why haven’t BBC NI reported their own story online? Update Five hours later, the BBC online report.And from Hansard

The Minister for Employment and Learning (Sir Reg Empey): Can I make a point of order?

Mr Speaker: Yes, certainly.

12.15 pm

Sir Reg Empey: When I was sitting upstairs a few moments ago, I heard the Minister of Finance and Personnel refer to the absence of a statement today. I ask the Minister to reconsider what he said. I did not ask for the matter to be deferred. The papers were late and were delivered only an hour or so before the meeting. I said that I was not taking any view on them: I did not ask for them to be deferred. However, why should they be served up to me and the rest of the Executive at such stupid notice?

Mr Speaker: I want to make it clear that the House should not get involved in how the Executive do their business. Let us move on.