Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 04 September 2012
Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings
1.1 The Speaker welcomed members back following the summer recess and thanked Ms Ruane for taking the Chair at the last meeting. Apologies were noted from Mr Stewart Dickson, and Ms Anna Lo was welcomed as the Alliance representative.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2012
2.1 The minutes of the meeting held on 26 June were agreed and signed by the Speaker.
3. Matters arising
3.1 There were no matters arising.
4. Exchange of Question Time Slots
4.1 The Speaker referred members to a letter from the Minister of Justice requesting an exchange of his Question Time slot on 17 September with the Minister for Regional Development on 18 September; and to a letter from the First Minister and deputy First Minister requesting an exchange of their Question Time slot on 1 October with the Minister of the Environment on 2 October.
4.2 Members approved both requests.
5. Finalisation of Order Papers for plenary meetings in week commencing 10 September 2012
5.1 Members agreed to schedule a Sinn Féin motion, and an SDLP motion to change Committee membership on Monday 10 September
5.2 Members noted that in addition to Question Time to the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Minister of the Environment, statements from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development on the NSMC Agriculture sectoral meeting and the NSMC Aquaculture and Marine sectoral meeting had been scheduled for Monday 10 September.
5.3 Members noted that, in addition to Question Time to the Minister of Finance and Personnel and the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety on Tuesday 11 September, the following Executive Business had been scheduled:
- Statement from the Minister for Employment and Learning on the launch of the Northern Ireland Strategy for Widening Participation in Higher Education;
- Second Stage of the Charities Bill;
- Motion to approve the Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Levies) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012;
- Motion to approve the Pensions (2008 Act) (Abolition of Contracting-out for Defined Contribution Pension Schemes) (Consequential Provisions) Regulations 2012;
- Motion to approve the Pensions (2008 No.2 Act) (Abolition of Protected Rights) (Consequential Provisions) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012; and
- Motion to approve the draft Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Display of Prices) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.
5.4 Members noted that further Ministerial statements may be scheduled on Monday 10 September and Tuesday 11 September.
5.5 Members noted that no Committee business had been requested.
Private Members’ Business
5.6 Members agreed to schedule two Private Members’ motions on Monday 10 September, but none on Tuesday 11 September.
Under the system of allocation for Private Members’ motions the selections lay with the DUP and Sinn Féin. However, before these selections were made, Mr Ramsey proposed, and members agreed, that a cross-party motion on ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’, be scheduled for Monday 10 September. Sinn Féin agreed to defer its selection to the following week.
The second motion for Monday 10 September was proposed and scheduled as follows:
- ‘VAT Rate for the Hospitality Sector’ (Mr S Hamilton, Mr G Campbell, Mr D McIlveen).
5.7 Members agreed that up to 1 hour 30 minutes should be allocated for the debates, with the usual speaking times.
5.8 Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 11 September and the selection lay with the DUP. The following adjournment topic was proposed and scheduled:
- ‘Flooding in East Belfast’ (Mr R Newton).
5.9 Junior Minister Bell advised that all relevant Ministers were available to respond.
5.10 The draft Order Papers were agreed.
6. Provisional arrangements for Plenary meetings in week commencing 17 September 2012
6.1 In addition to Question Time to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and the Minister for Regional Development, members noted that the Second Stage of the Business Improvement Districts Bill had been scheduled for Monday 17 September.
6.2 In addition to Question Time to the Minister of Justice and the Minister for Social Development on Tuesday 18 September, Members noted that a statement from the Minister of Finance and Personnel was expected .
6.3 Members noted that no Committee Business had been requested.
Private Members’ Business
6.4 Members agreed to schedule two Private Members’ motions on Monday 17 September and two on Tuesday 18 September. Under the system of allocation for Private Members’ motions the selections lay with Sinn Féin, the DUP, the UUP, and Sinn Féin.
The following motions were proposed and scheduled for Monday 17 September:
- ‘Short Stay Visa Waiver Scheme’ (Mr P Flanagan, Ms S Ramsey, Mr M McLaughlin);
- ‘Apology from the Republic of Ireland’ (Mr G Campbell, Mr S Anderson, Mr S Moutray, Mr M Storey).
The following motions were proposed and scheduled for Tuesday 18 September:
- ‘Centenary of the Signing of the Ulster Covenant’ (Mr M Nesbitt, Mr R Swann, Mr M McGimpsey);
- ‘Parades’ (Mr G Kelly, Mr McLaughlin, Mr D McKay).
6.5 Members agreed that up to 1 hour 30 minutes should be allocated for the debates, with the usual speaking times.
6.6. Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 18 September. Under the system for allocation Adjournment Debates, the selection lay with Sinn Féin. The following topic was proposed and selected:
- ‘Health provision in Armagh City and district’ (Mr C Boylan).
6.7 Junior Minister Bell advised that all relevant Ministers were available to respond.
6.8 The provisional Order Papers were agreed.
7. Any other business
7.1 The Speaker reminded whips that he had written to all MLAs on 3 July 2012 about changes to how Matters of the Day would be handled in the Chamber. He referred them to a paper summarising the new arrangements and asked whips to draw the changes to the attention of party colleagues.
7.2 Mr Ramsey asked members to consider the possibility of scheduling an adjournment debate on Mondays, as well as Tuesdays. Members noted that, although it had been the convention to have adjournment debates mainly on a Tuesday, it was open to the Business Committee to schedule adjournment debates on both days if it considered it appropriate.
8. Date and Time of next meeting
8.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 11 September 2012 in Room 106.
The Speaker brought the meeting to a close at 12.52pm
Mr William Hay