TUV leader ‘excluded’ from Windsor Framework scrutiny committee

The committee is newly formed in this Assembly mandate to scrutinise the workings of the post-Brexit mechanism.

TUV leader Jim Allister has claimed he has been excluded from membership of a Windsor Framework scrutiny committee within the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The chairs and deputy chairs of all the Stormont committees were allocated last week, before the membership of the committees was voted through on Monday.

Earlier in the sitting, Speaker Edwin Poots notified that Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan will chair the Windsor Framework Democratic Scrutiny Committee – a change from Declan Kearney, who was previously nominated for the role last week.

DUP MLA David Brooks is deputy chairman.

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Sinn Fein MLA Philip McGuigan will chair the Windsor Framework Democratic Scrutiny Committee (Liam McBurney/PA)

The committee, which is to meet for the first time on Thursday, is charged with examining and considering new EU Acts and replacement Acts as they arise.

It can recommend the application of the Stormont Brake to the UK Government – a power to object to changes to EU laws that apply in Northern Ireland under the terms of post-Brexit arrangements.
Speaking in the Assembly on Monday before the vote to approve the remaining membership of the committee, Mr Allister – an outspoken critic of the framework – said he had been denied a place.

Mr Allister, who is his party’s sole representative in the Assembly, claimed there has been “discrimination against minority voices in this Assembly in regard to the committee allocations”.

“Last week we had a carve-up by the main parties and then an offer of the crumbs to the four of us in this corner of the Assembly,” he told MLAs.

“And of course crumbs which didn’t meet any of the desires of those of us sent here on an equal mandate with everyone else.

“The result of course, in my own case… I have been denied a place on the EU Brexit committee because deep-dive scrutiny is not what is required; rather it is the form rather than the substance of scrutiny that the protocol-implementing parties in this House wish to see.

“On that committee or not, elsewhere I will continue to shine a light on to the dark deeds of colonial rule from the EU in this place.”

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