It’s our House we don’t have to respect it?

With a DUP speaker in the chair at Stormont again, it will be interesting to see how he deals with live tweeting the allocation of Ministries via d’Hondt before anything is presented to the Assembly. In many previously instances he has aped the protocols and expectations of Westminster when it comes to Stormont standards – Government announcing key decisions outside the House has long been a bone of contention at Westminster.

Their Speaker previously had this to say:

Ministers ought to make key statements to the House before they are made elsewhere.”—[Official Report, 24 June 2010; Vol. 494, c. 798.]

If they do otherwise, I—and, I am sure, the House—will expect to hear explanations and apologies as necessary.

In a Parliament where only 3 members aren’t part of the Government maybe such ideas as respecting the body of elected members isn’t as important? It’s up to Mr Hay to decide, though I’m sure the Mr Allister will add his tuppence – or does the Assembly already have rules on accepting being treated with contempt?

(Note: Mr Hay may have already spoken on this area – send me the link if you’ve got one)

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  • joeCanuck

    Mark,
    Looks like nobody gives a s**t. Times change. We don’t have to be bound by 16th century precedents.

  • iluvni

    Well said. A shoddy way of announcing the carve-up.

  • USA

    I don’t know anything about such procedures and protocal (sp?). But taking Mark’s comments on face value, it would seem he has a point. Especially when he has quoted the speakers stated position.

  • joeCanuck

    protocol

  • AGlassOfHine

    It’s our Flag……….YOU don’t have to respect that either,but the guy handing out the fancy coloured cards should take a wee look at YOUR sectarian bigoted comments on that !!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mark does indeed have a point. A couple of months ago Alex Attwood made an announcement on something to the press prior to reporting it to the assembly. I recall that a point of order was raised by someone in the DUP and the Speaker warned against this kind of activity.

    In terms of the matter itself, I don’t really see it as a stitch up or carve up. In voluntary coalitions of the kind most of the parties want to see introduced, a deal is thrashed out between the parties before being announced. Perhaps the intention is to portray the formal d’Hondt process running within the assembly as a mere formality which could be dispensed with later, although that would suggest that SF are either softening on their view of voluntary coalition or are behind the curve.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Yup. The problem was a question for Attwood which was due to be put on 14th March. Lord Morrow raised it with one of the deputy speakers on the 15th, and subsequently on the 21st when it appeared that despite the question not being answered in the House a statement had been issued revealing the same content.

    Quoting from the record on the speaker’s ruling :

    “I assure Lord Morrow and the House that I intend to write to the Minister to express my deep concern about the issue. It is totally and absolutely wrong. Usually, if a Minister does not get to a particular question, he issues a written answer immediately after Question Time, and that is put in pigeonholes.”

  • belfastboy

    Mark, your concerns aren’t relevant in this case. The ruling you quote deals with statements by ministers. The announcements on d’hondt deal with decisions by party leaders. I would have thought that actually the Speaker would be content that this has been done as it gives parties time to decide on the individual ministers and allows the formal proceedings in the house to go smoothly without the need for constant adjournments. Also remember that there is precedent for this and d’hondt was also run informally by the parties in 2007 and similarly the choice of departments was announced in advance before it was run in the chamber