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Speaker's Statement - Assembly Business and Covid-19

The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA, said: 

“Further to my statement on Monday, I have had further conversations with the political parties today in relation to how Assembly business will be managed in the time ahead.

Consequently, I have written to all MLAs this evening setting out some agreed initial changes, including to business next week. All non-essential Assembly business will be avoided in order that it does not distract from the delivery of public services to deal with the impact of Covid 19.

The priority of the Assembly will be on ensuring that decisions on Executive business, including legislation, can be taken, and that the ability for Ministers to provide updates and be scrutinised on these issues continues in a publicly transparent way in the Assembly Chamber. 

I am conscious that it is highly unusual for any Speaker to seek to reduce the ability of elected representatives to scrutinise Ministers but these are extraordinary times and they require extraordinary measures. I am grateful for the co-operation that I have had from the political parties and their commitment to supporting public services and protecting public health during these difficult times.” 

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