Office of the Speaker

My name is Robin Newton and I was elected as Speaker on 11 May 2016 at the first sitting of the fifth mandate of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

I consider it an honour to serve in this capacity, as I seek to uphold the impartiality and independence of this Office, and the interests of this House, on behalf of all its elected Members.

As Speaker I perform three main roles: procedural, corporate and representational

 

Procedural Role

In this role I chair plenary sessions of the Assembly, calling Members to speak on debates, maintaining order in the Chamber and replying to areas of dispute raised by Members. As Speaker, I am politically impartial and do not participate in any debates in the Assembly. In this work I am assisted by the Principal Deputy Speaker Caitriona Ruane (SF), Deputy Speaker Danny Kennedy (UUP) and Deputy Speaker Patsy McGlone (SDLP).  I chair meetings of the Business Committee which is responsible for determining the business to be discussed in plenary sessions.

Corporate Role

In this role I chair the Assembly Commission which is responsible under legislation to ensure that the Assembly is provided with the property, staff and services it requires to carry out its work.

Representational Role

As Speaker I also perform an important representational role which includes: receiving VIP visitors to the Assembly, such as Heads of State, Ambassadors and senior political figures; attending external events to promote the work of the Northern Ireland Assembly, such as officially opening the Assembly marquee at the Balmoral Show; and hosting events at Parliament Buildings to widen public access to their locally devolved institution.

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