Assembly Speaker taking medical advice to work from home for 12 weeks

Alex Maskey says: “I have received advice from my Health Trust to advise that, due to my cardiac history, I am in the group of those who should stay at home and avoid face to face contact for least twelve weeks. I have therefore written to all Members today to inform them that I will therefore be working from home in the time ahead. “This does not prevent me from conducting the majority of my responsibilities as Speaker – many …

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On the importance of following careful (and safe) procedure in the Legislative Assembly

Re the Speaker’s latest ‘letter’, I anticipate that – either at the start of proceedings, on Monday, or during the ‘no confidence’ debate – the decision to allow Mrs Foster to speak on 19 December, will be challenged, again – but probably even more forcefully. As has been said (more generally), when you are explaining, you are losing. The parties haven’t (and won’t) question his decision to recall the Assembly. It is the capacity in which The parties haven’t (and …

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Speaker ignores standing orders and sparks an Assembly walk out…

This morning the dFM withheld his consent for the First Minister to make a statement on behalf of the joint office of the Executive (the artist formerly known as OFMdFM). As Mike Nesbitt raised in a point of order just after the start, this changed the terms on which the Assembly had been summoned. Extraordinarily, the Speaker at first refused to accept Nesbitt’s point of order and then was forced to take a 20-minute adjournment. Restart brought a flurry of points of order …

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Assembly Speaker announces that he will step down at the next election

The current Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly Mitchel McLaughlin has announced that he step down as an MLA at the next election. He served as an MLA for Foyle between 1998-2007 and South Antrim since 2007. Announcing his decision to the Assembly today he said; I know it is no secret to many Members but I want to publicly put it on the record today that I will be stepping down as a Member of this Assembly at the …

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And the irreplaceable Willie Hay remains irreplaceable, apparently

The news on Mitchel McLaughlin not getting the seat Peter Robinson once promised him, in two Tweets… One, if Mitchel ain’t getting it, no one is… McLaughlin didn't get the post then as expected? @mickfealty this truly is a farce of a govt http://t.co/Wlf30E34dk — Katie-o (@kateyo) October 13, 2014 Two, some context… Unionists causing a degree of uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the Mitchel McLaughlin community. http://t.co/ASWT4Z7GtM — Newton Emerson (@NewtonEmerson) October 13, 2014 Fun, innit… Mick …

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Timeline of an Assembly vacancy, part two: the correspondence trail

Catching up on a few emails, I realised that I’d neglected to post the second part of a post started in early September about the timeline for co-opting a replacement MLA (Conall McDevitt) and the sequencing of the process between the Speaker, EONI and the political party (SDLP in this case). While relatively mundane it does illustrate the various stages and worth putting into the public name to remind us of the process the next time an MLA needs to …

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Timeline of an Assembly vacancy using South Belfast as an example (bottom line, SDLP need to give a name to EONI by Friday 13th)

The NI Assembly has had numerous vacancies and co-options over the years, but few have generated as much interest at the resignation of South Belfast MLA Conall McDevitt and the SDLP’s process of replacing him. So how does the process work? Who’s involved? And what is the timeline? Article 6B of The Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections) (Amendment) Order 2009 holds the relevant process. Section 6B (1) was triggered last week when the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Graham Shields received written …

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“Human Rights and Human Wrongs” – Rt Hon John Bercow delivers Amnesty International Pride Lecture in Belfast

As Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow has taken on the external roles of being an ambassador for Parliament and an advocate for democratic politics. A frequent speaker around the world, last night’s delivery of the annual Amnesty international lecture at Belfast Pride was his third visit to the city. On his previous trip to the PSA 2012 conference he asked what a 21st century parliament should look like? Last night in a speech entitled …

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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 …

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