Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings
1.1 Apologies were noted from Mrs Karen McKevitt, Mr Robin Swann and Mr Gerry Kelly. The Speaker welcomed Mr Danny Kinahan as the UUP substitute; and Mr Raymond McCartney as the Sinn Féin substitute.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 19 February 2013
2.1 The minutes were agreed and signed by the Speaker.
3. Matters arising
3.1 There were no matters arising.
4. Finalisation of Order Papers for plenary meetings in week commencing 04 March 2013
4.1 Members noted that there was no change to the Executive Business previously scheduled for Monday 4 March.
4.2 Members noted that the Further Consideration Stage of the Criminal Justice Bill was still scheduled to take up most of the day's business on Tuesday 5 March.
4.3 Members noted that there were still no requests for Committee Business.
Private Members' Business
4.4 Members noted that the text of the SDLP motion on 'Benefits Advice and Awareness' was now confirmed and included on the Order Paper for Monday 4 March.
4.5 Having deferred their choice of motion at last week's meeting the UUP selected the following motion for debate on Monday 4 March:
• 'Draft Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill' (Mr M Nesbitt, Mr T Elliott, Mrs S Overend).
Members agreed to schedule the motion with the usual timings. The Speaker advised that, as the matter was one for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, there would be no Executive Response to the motion. However, as is normal practice following debates of this nature, he would bring the matter to the attention of the Secretary of State, and forward the relevant extract from the Official Report.
4.6 Following last week's meeting, Mr Ramsey advised that he would not be available to move the Adjournment on Tuesday 5 March, and requested that it be deferred until the following week. Members noted that the DUP had agreed to exchange slots for adjournment topics.
The following adjournment topic was selected:
• 'Road infrastructure of the M1 link to the Maze site' (Mr J Craig).
4.7 Junior Minister Bell confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond to the business selected.
4.8 The draft Order Papers were agreed.
5. Provisional arrangements for plenary meetings in week commencing 11 March 2013
5.1 Members noted that Question Time to the Minister for Social Development and the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure had been scheduled for Monday 11 March, and that other Executive Business was expected.
5.2 Members noted that Question Time to the Minister of Education, the Minister for Employment and Learning, and the Assembly Commission was scheduled for Tuesday 12 March.
5.3 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety on 'Ovarian Cancer Awareness'; and a motion from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure on its 'Report on the Inquiry into Maximising the Potential of the Creative Industries' on Monday 11 March; agreeing the usual timings for both motions.
Members noted that the text of the motion from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure was still to be agreed, but would be available at next week's meeting.
Private Members' Business
5.4 Members agreed to schedule two Private Members' motions on Tuesday 12 March. Under the system of allocation, the selections lay with Sinn Féin and the DUP. The following motions were selected:
• 'Age Discrimination Legislation' (Ms M Fearon, Ms B McGahan, Mr M Brady); and
• 'E.U. Regional Aid' (Mr R Newton, Mr P Frew, Mr G Dunne).
The usual timings were agreed for the motions.
Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 12 March and noted that this had already been agreed as the deferred SDLP topic:
• 'Woodlands Speech and Language Unit in Derry City Council Area'
(Mr P Ramsey).
5.5 Junior Minister Bell confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond to the business selected.
5.6 The provisional Order Papers were agreed.
6. Review of Committee places following the change of UUP membership
6.1 The Speaker advised Whips that, following the recent changes to the membership of the UUP, it was necessary for the Business Committee to review party representation on:
a. Statutory Committees (SO 49(4)); and
b. Standing Committees (SO 52(4)).
6.2 Members noted that the recalculation resulted in two fewer seats on Statutory Committees for the UUP, and that it had given up its second seats on the Committee for Finance and Personnel, and the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure. It was agreed that, as Mr McCallister was currently a member of the Committee for Finance and Personnel, he could retain that seat. It was noted that Mr McCrea was content to accept the seat on the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, and his appointment to that committee was agreed.
6.3 With regard to Standing Committees, it was noted that the allocation of UUP seats was reduced by one, and that the party had given up its second seat on the Assembly and Executive Review Committee. In line with the agreement on 8 January 2008 that, where the recalculation results in an additional seat it should go to the party with the highest residual fraction, it was agreed that the seat should be allocated to the SDLP. Mr Ramsey agreed to advise the Clerk after the meeting of the SDLP member nominated to sit on the Assembly and Executive Review Committee.
6.4 Members agreed to schedule a business motion on Monday 4 March to give effect to these changes.
7. Rota for Oral Questions: April to Summer Recess
7.1 Members agreed the rota for Oral Questions from April 2013 until the Summer Recess as presented.
8. Any other business
8.1 The Speaker referred Whips to an updated Speaking List which had been amended to reflect the change in UUP membership; and advised that it would be in use from Monday 4 March.
8.2 Members noted a reply from the First Minister and deputy First Minister to the Speaker's recent correspondence advising of new rules for requests to exchange Question Time slots.
9. Date and Time of next meeting
9.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 5 March 2013 in Room 106.
The Speaker brought the meeting to a close at 12.54pm.