The Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 27 September 2011

Venue: Room 106

1. Introduction and Apologies

1.1 Apologies were noted from junior Minister Anderson and Mr Paul Maskey.

2. Minutes of the meeting held on 20 September 2011

2.1 The minutes of the meeting held on 20 September were agreed and signed by the Speaker.

3. Matters arising

3.1 There were no matters arising

4. Finalisation of Order Papers for Week Commencing 3 October 2011

Executive Business

4.1 Members noted that no additional Executive Business had been scheduled.

Committee Business

4.2 Members noted that there was no Committee Business requested.

Private Members’ Business

4.3 Members noted that there was no change to the Private Members’ Business previously scheduled.

5. Provisional arrangements for Plenary meetings in week commencing 10 October 2011

Executive Business

5.1 Members noted that, apart from 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 on Monday 10 October.

5.2 Members noted that, apart from Question Time to the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Minister of Justice, no further Executive business had been scheduled on Tuesday 11 October.

Committee Business

5.3 Members noted that the Committee for Social Development had tabled a motion to annul the Housing Benefit (Amendment No.2) Regulations. Members agreed to schedule the motion on Monday 10 October, and noted that whilst there was no time limit set for the motion it was not expected to last longer than 20 minutes.

5.4 Members noted that a motion from the Assembly and Executive Review Committee seeking the agreement of the Assembly to refer to it the review of the arrangements for appointing the Minister of Justice was still expected.

Private Members’ Business

5.4 Members agreed to schedule two Private Members’ Motions on Monday 10 October and two on Tuesday 11 October.

Under the system of allocation for Private Members’ motions the selections lay with Sinn Féin, Alliance, UUP, and DUP.

The following motions were proposed:

  • ‘Safeguarding Water and Heating Supplies’ (Mr F McCann, Mr S Lynch, Mr P Doherty);
  • Mixed Housing (Mrs J Cochrane, Ms A Lo, Mr C Lyttle);

[Note: immediately following the Business Committee, the Alliance party advised the Clerk that it wished to change its selection to ‘Dealing with the Past’ (Mr C Lyttle, Mr S Dickson, Mr T Lunn, Ms A Lo).];

  • ‘Review of Home to School Transport Policy’ (Mr D McNarry, Mrs J Dobson, Mr R Hussey); and
  • ‘United Assembly Against Terrorism’ (Mr I McCrea, Mr J Craig, Mr R Newton)

5.5 Members agreed that up to 1 hour 30 minutes should be allocated for the debates, with the usual speaking times.

5.6 Members agreed to schedule an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 11 October. Under the system for allocating Adjournment Debates, the selection lay with Alliance.

Alliance selected the following topic:

  • Illegally displayed flags and emblems in East Belfast

Members agreed to schedule the topic as the Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 11 October.

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

6. Any Other Business

6.1 Following the Speaker’s ruling at the start of plenary business on the speaking order in debates, Mr McCallister asked whether it would be possible to allow the single Member parties and independent Member more opportunities to speak. There was general agreement that the Business Committee had always been flexible about extending the time for debates in which a high level of interest was expected. However, for the majority of debates, where the normal time limits applied, there could be no guarantee that all Members who wished to speak on a particular topic would be able to do so. It was noted that the rights of all backbenchers to contribute to debate should be treated equally and protected on the same basis. It was further noted, and accepted, that all Members of larger parties did not always get called in the time available. The Speaker advised Members that the speaking lists for each plenary sitting were available for inspection in the Business Office; and that the statistics indicated that the single Member parties have been called regularly to date. Members agreedthat the current speaking arrangements did not need to be reviewed.

7. Date and Time of next meeting

7.1 Members agreed to meet at approximately 12.30pm on Tuesday 4 October 2011 in Room 106.

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

Mr William Hay

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