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‘Naughty chair’ for absent MLAs


William Hay

William Hay

William Hay

Assembly speaker William Hay has warned that MLAs failing to turn up to question ministers will be put in the ‘naughty chair’.

As revealed in the Belfast Telegraph, he formally told members absent without explanation that they will not be called on to speak during question time.

In effect, during the twice-weekly, hour-long quizzing of Executive ministers, offending MLAs will be ‘in purdah’ for a period.

In an interview earlier this month, Mr Hay said members who do not fulfil their role of holding ministers to account were “treating the House with contempt” — and disclosed he was considering the sanction of making sure they do not catch his eye.

Over two recent Tuesday sessions, within a week of each other, ten MLAs were not present when called on.

“As far as I am concerned, that treats the entire House and its procedures with total and absolute contempt,” Mr Hay told members.

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