Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 13 November 2012
Venue: Room 106, Parliament Buildings
1.1 Apologies were noted from Mrs McKevitt.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on Monday 5 November 2012
2.1 The minutes were agreed and signed by the Speaker.
3. Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 6 November 2012
3.1 The minutes were agreed and signed by the Speaker.
4. Matters arising
4.1 There were no matters arising.
5. Finalisation of Order Papers for plenary meetings in week commencing 19 November 2012
5.1 A business motion to suspend Standing Orders 10(2) to (4) was scheduled for Monday 19 November to allow the sitting to continue past 7.00 pm.
5.2 Members noted that, in addition to the Executive Business agreed previously, the First Stage of the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill was scheduled for Monday 19 November, pending clearance by the Speaker.
5.3 Members noted that, in addition to the Executive Business agreed previously, the Consideration Stages of the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse Bill and the Charities Bill were both scheduled for Tuesday 20 November. Members further noted that Whips had been alerted to the short deadline for tabling amendments to both of these Bills.
5.4 Members noted that a Legislative Consent Motion on the Small Charitable Donations Bill, tabled by the Minister for Social Development, was also scheduled for Tuesday 20 September.
5.5 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee for Social Development to refer the Welfare Reform Bill to an ad hoc Committee under SO 35(10)(a) and (b)(i), to consider and report on whether the provisions of the Bill are in conformity with the requirements for equality and observance of human rights.
5.6 Members noted that, should this motion be agreed by the Assembly, a second motion to appoint the ad hoc Committee would be required, and that the scheduling of such a motion (as a business motion) immediately after the Committee for Social Development’s motion would avoid further delay to the progress of the Welfare Reform Bill. The Speaker advised that this would not pre-empt the Assembly’s decision on referring the Bill to an ad hoc Committee, but would be similar to scheduling the Second Stage of a Bill immediately after a motion for accelerated passage, when the Second Stage may not be moved if the motion is not agreed.
5.7 Members considered and agreed the terms of a draft motion, including that the ad hoc Committee should have 11 members, from whom the Chairperson and deputy Chairperson would be selected, and that the party breakdown would be DUP 4, Sinn Féin 3, UUP 2, SDLP 1, and Alliance 1. It was also agreed that this arrangement would apply to ad hoc Committees, generally, during this mandate.
5.8 Members agreed to place the motion on the Order Paper so that it could be moved, if appropriate, immediately after the Committee for Social Development’s motion had been agreed by the Assembly.
5.9 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee on Standards and Privileges in relation to imposing a sanction of exclusion from Assembly proceedings for seven days on Mr Wells. Members agreed to allow one hour and 30 minutes for the debate, with 5 minutes to move and 5 minutes to wind, and 5 minutes for all other speakers. Members further agreed to allow Mr Wells 10 minutes to make his contribution, and to offer him the choice of speaking either second or immediately before the wind.
Private Members’ Business
5.10 The UUP requested that the motion on ‘Access to Public Procurement Opportunities’, scheduled for Monday 19 November, be changed. The following motion was scheduled in its place, with the usual timings:
- ‘Consultation on Cross Border Education’ (Mr D Kinahan, Mrs J Dobson)
5.11 Junior Minister McCann confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond.
5.12 The draft Order Papers were agreed.
6. Provisional arrangements for Plenary meetings in week commencing 26 November 2012
6.1 Members noted that, along with Question Time to the Minister of Finance and Personnel and the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, a statement from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to update the House on the financial correction by the European Commission and the departmental response with regard to Single Farm Payments, and a statement from the Minister of Justice on the NI Prison Service Outline Estate Strategy, were scheduled for Monday 26 November.
6.2 Members noted that, along with Question Time to the Office of the First Minister, and the Minister of Justice, the Second Stage of the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill was scheduled for Tuesday 27 November, pending the necessary clearances from the Speaker.
6.3 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on the Small Business Research Initiative on Monday 26 November. Members noted that the Committee has requested the usual one hour and 30 minutes for the debate, with 15 minutes for the Chairperson to move and 10 minutes to wind, and all other speakers allocated 5 minutes.
6.4 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development on its report on Bovine TB on Monday 26 November, with the usual timings.
Private Members’ Business
6.5 Members agreed to schedule no Private Members’ motions on Monday 26 November, but one on Tuesday 27 November. Under the system of allocation, the selection lay with Sinn Féin.
The following motion was selected:
- ‘EU Funding 2014-2020’ (Mr S Lynch, Mr D McAleer, Mr C Ó hOisín);
6.6 Members agreed that up to 1 hour 30 minutes should be allocated for the debate, with the usual speaking times.
6.7 Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 27 November. Under the system of allocation, the selection lay with the UUP.
The following topic was proposed and selected:
- ‘Future of St Lucia site, Omagh’ (Mr R Hussey).
6.8 Junior Minister McCann advised that all relevant Ministers were available to respond.
6.9 The provisional Order Papers were agreed.
7. Update on Statistics on Late Answers to Questions
7.1 The Speaker referred members to a summary paper which provided an update on the response times to Assembly Written Questions. Members noted the results.
7.2 Members agreed to receive an update on the figures following the Christmas recess.
8. Any other business
8.1 Members noted that an updated version of the ‘Speaker’s Rulings’ booklet was circulated to all parties, and is also available on Assist.
9. Date and Time of next meeting
9.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 20 November 2012 in Room 106.
The Chairperson brought the meeting to a close at 1.03pm.