Alliance leader David Ford today said it was "unfortunate" that amendments in the crunch Assembly debate on the Stormont Executive's Budget had to be withdrawn.
An Assembly vote was avoided after Speaker William Hay announced he would not be accepting amendments on the 'take note' Budget debate, even though they were allowed in previous sessions on the programme for government, legislative programme and the review of public administration.
It is understood both Ulster Unionists and the Alliance parties were asked yesterday to withdraw amendments to the showpiece Budget debate, or they would be ruled out of order.
But all the parties appear to be agreed that normal protocol under the legal Erskine May rules is that there are no votes on any 'take note' debates.
Mr Ford said today: "It is unfortunate that after previous 'take note' debates allowed amendments that it has now been decided this is not normal practice under the Erskine May protocol."