Sinn Fein’s O’Dowd says only ‘right and proper’ to elect Speaker during Assembly meeting

Sinn Fein MLA John O’Dowd has said that a petition launched to bring the Assembly to meet on Monday is “only right and proper” and has appealed to the DUP not to obstruct the vote to elect a Speaker and deputy Speaker.

he Assembly is due to meet at 12pm for this purpose, after it the 90 recently elected MLAs last met on Friday, May 13, to sign into the Assembly, amid confirmation from the DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson that his party would not be nominating a Speaker.

The parties nominated Ulster Unionist Party MLA Mike Nesbitt and SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone to stand as Speakers, however, the DUP said they would not agree to the nominations.

UUP MLA Mike Nesbitt, one of the candidates for Speaker, was not elected in the cross-community vote.

Sinn Fein proposed a petition to bring the Assembly back to meet on Monday – with support from Alliance and SDLP – but the DUP has dismissed the move as a “stunt”.

Speaking on Monday morning’s BBC Good Morning Ulster, Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd said: “This petition is about giving visibility to the democratic will of the electorate as expressed at the ballot box three weeks ago when the vast majority of the people voted for a working and functioning Assembly and Executive where ministers are making decisions.

“I don’t think it’s pointless, I think it’s quite right and proper that MLAs are brought together.”

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