Assembly’s ‘consent’ for National Crime Agency Order is a challenge to the Speaker

In a Parliamentary written answer last week (16 March), the Secretary of State gave an update on the progress of the Draft Order in Council which will extend the operation of the National Crime Agency to Northern Ireland.  Here’s what Teresa Villiers said. The Northern Ireland Assembly recently agreed to the making of an Order which will enable the National Crime Agency (NCA) to be fully operational in Northern Ireland. That Order has been considered by Committees in both the …

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Of Speakers, yoghurt, murdering pensioners and hypocrisy

This week saw Mitchell McLaughlin elected as Speaker of the Assembly. The News Letter pointed to his previous comments refusing to accept that the murder of Jean McConville was a crime. Leaving aside McLaughlin personally there is a certain symbolism in a Sinn Fein speaker being elected just a week before the 34th anniversary of the murder of the old Stormont speaker Sir Norman Stronge. Sir Norman was born in 1894 and fought at the Somme. His election as speaker …

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OFMDFM: “It is becoming increasingly obvious this trust is in danger of being eroded…”

Yesterday’s Irish News carried an interesting report of the most recent proceedings of the Northern Ireland Assembly Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister. It seems that the NI First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, and the then-acting deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, are/were not happy.  And they’ve written to the Assembly Speaker, William Hay, to tell him so. First, some background. Back in July 2010, OFMDFM published their “motherhood and apple pie” proposals for the long-awaited Programme for …

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The rubber stamp gets smaller?

Mark McGregor is of course right. At the very least the disclosure of the d’Hondt private run by the Executive Twitter account was a violation of the Assembly’s right to be first to know. It was like that in 2007, and is now. However there probably is some justification for it, given that such an important series of events almost certainly benefits from being run free from the procedural constraints of the Assembly floor. That said, it is of course …

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First DUP/SF back-room ‘deal’ of new Assembly?

After the public posturing by Sinn Féin earlier in the week, the DUP’s William Hay has been returned as Speaker in the new Northern Ireland Assembly.  The BBC report notes BBC NI’s political editor Mark Devenport said a deal had been struck between the DUP and Sinn Fein over the speaker’s job. “The job is going to go to William Hay, but it looks like he won’t actually be performing that role for the entire period of this assembly,” he …

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NI Assembly Speaker: “They are treating the House with contempt…”

Despite changes to the Standing Orders in June 2009, the Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker was forced to crack some heads together in the chamber today over MLAs’ attitudes to Question Time –  as UTV reports here. Hansard records what the Speaker, Willie Hay, had to say [permanent link] Mr Willie Clarke is not in his place for question 1; that is another issue that I intend to deal with. Departments and Ministers spend a great deal of time and resources on Question Time …

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