It is over two-and-a-half years since the Northern Ireland Assembly last sat. In that time, many issues have come and gone, and many more are threatening the public services in Northern Ireland through the inaction of the main parties in … Continue reading Assembly gathers to pretend to care about Northern Ireland
Following this afternoon’s vote in the debate on the third reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, Christopher Lovell has expressed his disappointment at Tim Farron’s “abstention” today. It seems that Mr Lovell who lives in Leeds, not in Tim’s constituency, feels that because there is no vote recorded by Tim Farron in today’s debate, Tim abstained. I counter that this is not true. Tim did in fact, quite clearly not vote. It has been suggested by Erskine May that there is a procedure in Parliament to register an abstention: voting in both lobbies (Erskine May, Parliamentary Practice, 23rd edition, 2004, p412).
A House of Commons Briefing Paper, Divisions in the House of Commons, SN/PC/06401 states
If fewer than 40 Members, including the Speaker and the tellers, participate in a division, it does not meet the quorum required. The House then moves on to the next business, and the subject of the division is postponed until the next sitting day. Members who wish to defeat a particular item of business may engineer a division and then stay out of the lobbies, as they can thus render the division inquorate. Continue reading “Disappointed with Tim Farron or Naomi Long? I’m not…”
This afternoon we have seen the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill pass its third reading in the House of Commons. Many people start claiming that Equal Marriage is home and dry. This is quite far from the case. The Bill … Continue reading We’re being left behind in Northern Ireland: why I am a proud Liberal Democrat
With the number of local government district set to be cut from the current twenty-six to just eleven in the next couple of years there will be a drop in the number of councillors of about 120. The environment minister … Continue reading up to £35k as severance for NI councillors – DoE consults
Employment for Learning minister, Dr Stephen Farry MLA of the Alliance Party today announced the reappointment of the four members of the Industrial Court. The Industrial Court has its origins in the Industrial Courts Act 1919 and is responsible for the … Continue reading Four members of Industrial Court reappointed by Employment for Learning Minister
My thoughts and prayers are with all Alliance Party representative and their staff at this difficult time following the decision by Belfast City Council to fly the Union Flag on designated days. Reports are coming in this evening that a constituency office for Stewart Dickson MLA, the Alliance representative for East Antrim has been set on fire. According to the BBC the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service are at the scene. As with the protest yesterday that forced Naomi Long MP‘s office to close early, all that these actions will do will be to stop local people from getting … Continue reading Violence and fire-lighting is not the way forward
Just been speaking to Judith Cochrane MLA, one of three Alliance Party MLAs unable to bring themselves to be present in The Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday for the Marriage Equality vote. I asked her: “Can you tell me why you were absent from the chamber yesterday for the Equal Marriage vote?” Her response is below. I am sorry if you feel that I let you down yesterday. I have many friends in the LGBT community both in NI and further afield whom I care about deeply but who accept that I believe that marriage is between a man and a … Continue reading Judith Cochrane MLA’s answer on why she was absent from chamber for #equalmarriageni vote yesterday
On Monday 1 October there is a motion in the Northern Ireland Assembly on Equal Marriage: That this Assembly believes that all couples, including those of the same sex, should have the right to marry in the eyes of the … Continue reading A message to all the MLAs in Stormont #equalmarriage #religiousfreedom
When I applied to university the first time around, back when I was a pupil at Ballymena Academy, I couldn’t understand why we had to apply based on the results of our predicted grades. It seemed to me, and still does, that it would be fairer to have the university admissions process after real grades had been awarded. The recent action [inaction?] by UCAS to put off a decision on having post-results admissions has been rightly condemned by the President of NUS-USI, Adrianne Peltz, who said that basing offers on predicted grades is an unreliable system and that going by predicted grades … Continue reading NUS-USI President calls for university admissions to be after results are published
I was interested to notice that cancer patients in Northern Ireland are among those benefiting from a payment from the Northern Ireland Executive of a one-off winter fuel payment. Apparently this is because their immune systems are somewhat suppressed and they need to stay warm. £5000 is not much in the overall budget of the Northern Ireland Executive. At least you would not think that it is. Yet this relatively small amount of money is all that it would take to extend the payment of the winter fuel payment to one group of people who could really benefit from it. … Continue reading Is the Executive so tight that they cannot find £5000?