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TUV and Greens push for a say in Assembly business

By Noel McAdam

Published 10/11/2016

‘Inequity’: Jim Allister
‘Inequity’: Jim Allister

The Assembly's smaller parties have warned they are being frozen out by a "closed shop" operating at Stormont.

The Green Party and Traditional Unionist Voice complained about being prevented from having a say on Assembly business.

TUV leader Jim Allister said he had been an MLA for more than five years during which time probably more than 500 motions had been debated, but he had not been permitted to propose one because of "the closed shop that operates in the selection of motions", asking: "When will that inequity be addressed?"

Green MLA Steven Agnew also asked for confirmation his party could be able to choose a motion for debate in two weeks' time.

He asked Speaker Robin Newton: "How can a party that is not represented on the business committee access its entitlement to choose motions for debate?" Mr Newton replied: "You are aware of the procedures for the business committee.

"If that item appears on the agenda, the business committee will no doubt deal with it."

To Mr Allister, he said: "You, maybe above all Members, know the procedures of the House and the business committee.

"The matter has been raised by the business committee, which has taken and will take decisions on it."

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