Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 18 September 2012
Venue: Room 106
1.1 Apologies were noted from Mr Gerry Kelly.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 11 September 2012
2.1 The minutes of the meeting held on 11 September 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 24 September 2012
4.1 Members noted that no further Executive business had been scheduled for Monday 24 September.
4.2 Members noted that in addition to the Executive Business agreed previously for Tuesday 25 September, it was expected that a statement from the Minister of the Environment on the British Irish Council Environment meeting would also be scheduled.
4.3 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee for Justice to extend the Committee Stage of the Criminal Justice Bill until 14 December, on Monday 24 September.
4.4 Members agreed to schedule a motion from the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety on 'Paediatric Congenital Cardiac Services' for Tuesday 25 September, with the usual timings.
Private Members' Business
4.5 Having deferred the choice of a Private Members' motion at the last meeting, it was noted that the SDLP had selected a motion on 'Payment of Housing Benefit'.
4.6 Members agreed to schedule the motion for Monday 24 September, with the usual timings.
4.7 Members noted that there was no change to Private Members' business on Tuesday 25 September.
4.8 Junior Minister Bell confirmed that all relevant Ministers were available to respond.
4.9 The draft Order Papers were agreed.
5. Provisional arrangements for Plenary meetings in week commencing 01 October 2012
5.1 Members noted that other than Question time to the Minister for the Environment, and the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment no further Executive Business had been scheduled for Monday 1 October.
5.2 Members noted that other than Question time to the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister, and the Minister of Finance and Personnel no further Executive Business had been scheduled for Tuesday 2 October.
5.3 There was no Committee business requested for Monday 1 October or Tuesday 2 October.
Private Members' Business
5.5 Members agreed to schedule two Private Members' motions on Monday 1 October and two on Tuesday 2 October. Under the system of allocation, the selections lay with Sinn Féin, the DUP, Alliance and the UUP.
The following motions were proposed:
• 'Marriage Equality' (Mr S Agnew, Ms B McGahan, Ms C Ruane);
• 'GCSE Changes' (Mr M Storey, Miss M McIlveen);
• 'Opportunities for Businesses to Access New Markets and Finance' (Mrs J Cochrane, Mr T Lunn, Mr S Dickson); and
• 'Levels of Absenteeism in Schools' (Mr R Beggs, Mr M Nesbitt, Mr D Kinahan).
5.6 Members agreed that up to 1 hour 30 minutes should be allocated for the debates, with the usual speaking times.
5.7. Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 2 October. Under the system of allocation, the selection lay with the UUP. The following topic was proposed and selected:
• 'Health and Social Care Provision in East Antrim' (Mr R Beggs).
5.8 Junior Minister Bell advised that all relevant Ministers were available to respond.
5.9 The provisional Order Papers were agreed.
6. Any other business
(a) Changes to the Order Paper once it has been agreed
6.1 The Speaker reminded Whips that party selections for Private Members' business cannot be changed after the Order Paper has been printed, other than in the most exceptional circumstances. The Speaker advised that parties should not try to withdraw or replace a motion at short notice in order to react to breaking news; and reminded Members that urgent developments can be dealt with through other mechanisms like Matters of the Day and Urgent Oral Questions. It was noted that, in future, should an urgent issue arise after the Order Paper has been agreed and printed, that it is so important that it must be debated, Whips should agree a cross-party motion and then seek the agreement of the Speaker to have it added to the Order Paper.
6.2 Members agreed to proceed on this basis.
(b) Motion to exclude the Minister for Social Development from office
6.3 The Speaker advised Whips that a motion signed by 30 Members under section 30 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 had just been tabled in relation to the exclusion of the Minister for Social Development from office. Members noted that, because of the statutory nature of the motion, it should be scheduled at the earliest opportunity ie for Monday 24 September.
6.4 The Speaker advised that he needed to consider the competence of the motion and proposed that the meeting be suspended and reconvened later.
6.5 Members agreed to suspend the meeting.
The meeting was suspended at 12.46pm.
The meeting reconvened at 3.07pm with the following Members in attendance:
Mr S Dickson, Mrs K McKevitt, Mrs S Overend, Mr P Ramsey, Ms C Ruane, Mr P Weir
Mr T Reaney, Mr G McGrath, Mr R Ramsey, Ms N Dunwoody, Mr H Widdis, Ms F Leneghan, Ms L Gordon, Ms K Jardine
Mr J Dallat (Deputy Speaker), junior Minister Bell, junior Minister McCann, Mr A Rogers (OFMDFM)
6.6 The Speaker advised that the motion met the requirements of section 30 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and that it was competent.
6.7 The motion was scheduled as the first item of business on the Order Paper for Monday 24 September 2012.
6.8 Members agreed the arrangements for debate. A total of 1 hour and 30 minutes was agreed, with 10 minutes to move and 10 minutes to wind the motion, and 5 minutes for all other speakers.
6.9 Members further agreed to allow the Minister for Social Development 15 minutes to make his contribution, and to offer him the choice of speaking either second or immediately before the wind.
6.10 The revised Order Paper was agreed.
7. Date and Time of next meeting
7.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 25 September 2012 in Room 106.
The Speaker brought the meeting to a close at 3.10pm.
Mr William Hay