Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 05 February 2013

Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings

1. Apologies

1.1 Apologies were noted from Mrs Karen McKevitt.

2. Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 29 January 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 11 February 2013

Assembly Business

4.1 Members agreed to a schedule a DUP motion to change Committee membership on Monday 11 February.

Executive Business

4.2 Members noted that, in addition to Executive Business agreed previously, a motion to Suspend Standing Orders was scheduled for Monday 11 February, allowing the sitting to go beyond 7pm. A statement from the Minister for Employment and Learning on the Review of Apprenticeships was also expected to be scheduled that day.   

4.3 Members noted that, in addition to Executive Business agreed previously, a statement from the Minister for Regional Development on ‘Door to Door Transport’, was scheduled for Tuesday 12 February.

Committee Business

4.4 Members noted that there were still no requests for Committee Business.

Private Members’ Business   

4.5 Members noted that there was no change to the Private Members’ business agreed previously.

4.6 Junior Minister Bell confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond to business.

4.7 The draft Order Papers were agreed.

5. Provisional arrangements for plenary meetings in week commencing 18 February 201

Executive Business

5.1 Members noted that the Consideration Stage of the Budget Bill was scheduled for Monday 18 February, along with Question Time to the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Minister for Employment and Learning. Members also noted that motions from the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to approve statutory rules may also be scheduled on this day.

5.2 Members noted that the Further Consideration Stage of the Budget Bill was scheduled for Tuesday 19 February, along with Question Time to the Minister of Education and the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Committee Business

5.3 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee for the Environment to extend the Committee Stage of the Planning Bill until 7 June 2013, on Monday 18 February.

5.4 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety on ‘Health Inequalities’; and a motion from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on ‘Supporting Growth in the Sustainable Energy Sector’ on Monday 18 February; agreeing the usual timings for both motions.

5.5 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure on ‘Grassroot and Elite Sports Facilities’ on Tuesday 19 February, with the usual timings.

Private Members’ Business   

5.6 Following consideration of the scheduled, and potential, Executive and Committee business, Ms Ruane requested that the Business Committee consider scheduling more than one Private Members’ motion in the week commencing 18 February.

Mr Weir expressed the view that, with the possibility of additional Executive business on those sitting days, only one Private Members’ motion should be scheduled. Mrs Overend agreed, suggesting that the position be reviewed at the next meeting of the Business Committee, when there would be a clearer picture of business.

Mr Ramsey suggested that there would be scope on either Monday 18 February or Tuesday 19 February to include a second Private Members’ motion. Mr Dickson advised that he was content with the Provisional Order Papers as they currently stood, but that the matter could be reviewed at the next meeting.

Ms Ruane expressed her disappointment that there was not stronger support for her proposal to schedule more than one Private Members’ motion in the week commencing 18 February, and requested that the matter be put to a vote. Mr Ramsey supported Ms Ruane’s request.

Ms Ruane formally proposed that, on either Monday 18 February or Tuesday 19 February, an extra slot for a Private Members’ motion should be scheduled.

Members voted on the proposal:

For - 43 votes

Against - 59 votes.

The proposal therefore fell and members agreed to schedule no Private Members’ motions on Monday 18 February, but one on Tuesday 19 February. Under the system of allocation the selection lay with the DUP. The following motion was selected:

  • ‘Graduate Programmes in the Agri-Food Sector’ (Mr T Buchanan, Mr P Frew, Mr W Irwin).

Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 19 February. Under the system of allocation, the selection lay with Sinn Féin.  The following adjournment topic was selected:

  • ‘Progress of the Education Campus at Lisanelly, Omagh’

(Mr D McAleer).

5.7 Junior Minister Bell confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available.  

5.8 The provisional Order Papers were agreed.

6. Any other business

6.1 The Speaker referred members to two letters from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister requesting changes to Question Time dates. The first requested an exchange of Question Time slot on 25 February with the Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure on 18 February. The second requested an exchange of Question Time slot on 11 March with the Minister for Social Development on 5 March.

6.2 Members agreed to both requests.

6.3 The Speaker advised that the Business Committee had considered five requests to change Question Time dates since the Assembly returned after the Christmas Recess. It was acknowledged that, while the Committee was prepared to be flexible in relation to changes to the rota, difficulties can arise when changes are made close to the deadline for Members to submit their names for the relevant Question Time ballot.

6.4 Members agreed that the Speaker should write to the First Minister and deputy First Minister proposing a way forward to ensure that requests for changes to the rota are submitted in time to keep any negative impacts on Members and parties to a minimum.  

6.5 The Speaker advised Whips that, as he would be away on official Assembly business on Tuesday 12 February, Mr Weir would Chair the next meeting of the Business Committee in his absence.

7. Date and Time of next meeting

7.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 12 February 2013 in Room 106.

The Speaker brought the meeting to a close at 12.47pm.

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