Belfast Telegraph

MLAs warned over offensive remarks

The chairman of debates at Stormont has issued a stern warning to assembly members who make offensive remarks.

Standards have fallen far short of that expected in the chamber, Speaker William Hay told MLAs. He promised he would be keeping a close watch on some repeat culprits.

His intervention followed a day of heightened tempers and sharp exchanges on Monday at Parliament Buildings.

Mr Hay said: "I won't allow members from a sedentary position to say what they are saying, which ends up being offensive to other members. That is not the good standard of debate in this house that I expect.

"I will be keeping a watching brief on members who continually, from a sedentary position, say things that they should not be saying in this house.

"After all, we are a political institution, we are a democratically elected institution. There are some members of this house who fall far short of the standards that I expect in debates in this house."

Mr Hay reminded public representatives of the need for good temper and moderation in making their remarks.

"I try to give as much leniency to members as possible but a good turn in this house sometimes really means nothing to some members," he added.

SDLP North Belfast MLA Alex Attwood said assembly members of a party had raised issues which impinged on the character of other members three times in the last seven assembly meetings.

He told Mr Hay his party's chief whip would seek a meeting with the Speaker over the issue.

The Speaker said a lot of these issues involved the cut and thrust of debate.


From Belfast Telegraph