A wee Sunday thought.
Under d’Hondt, and specifically section 18 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the DUP is due to be asked to nominate the new minister for Regional Development when the Assembly reconvenes after the summer break.
The current chairperson of the Committee for Regional Development is Trevor Clarke, in succession to Jimmy Spratt. Section 29(5) of the same Act says that “in making a selection under the provision made by virtue of subsection (2)(a), a nominating officer [in this case for the DUP] shall prefer a committee in which he does not have a party interest to one in which he does” and subsection (6)(b) defines a party interest as if a committee “is established to advise and assist a Northern Ireland Minister and that Minister is a member of his party.” ((6)(a) has a similar definition for either party in OFMDFM)
A cursory glance through the list reveals that of the departments not run by DUP MLAs, only DEL and DOE currently have a Committee chair belonging to another party.
While the DUP is not required to give up the chair of the Committee for Regional Development under the NI Act, and indeed the present deputy chairperson of the DHSSPS committee belongs to the DUP, it will be interesting to see whether they will exchange chairmanship of the committee with another party in order to observe the spirit of the Act.