Green Party submit Ministerial investigation motion

Monday 09 January 2017

Green Party Leaders, Steven Agnew MLA and Clare Bailey MLA have submitted a motion calling for the creation of an independent process to investigate alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct. 

At present, there is no formal or independent process for investigating a complaint relating to an Executive Minister.

The Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards can investigate any alleged breach of the Assembly Code of Conduct by back-bench MLAs. However, there is no comparable process by which to investigate breaches by Executive Ministers.

Accordingly, the motion will call on the Executive Office to urgently bring forward legislation to expand the role of the Northern Ireland Assembly Commissioner for Standards to allow for investigation into alleged breaches of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

Steven Agnew MLA said: “The current lack of independent scrutiny of Executive Ministers is plainly unacceptable.

“There is a crisis of confidence in the political institutions and the RHI fiasco has brought Ministerial conduct into sharp focus.

“People would quite reasonably expect that Ministers should be held to account by an independent investigator, should any allegation arise. They would also expect to be able to raise concerns about Ministerial conduct as engaged citizens. However, there is currently no process by which to do this.

“This is about promoting effective and accountable government in Northern Ireland.

The North Down MLA continued:

“I proposed this measure as an amendment to an Assembly motion back in October 2016. This amendment received support from all non-Executive parties.

“This is an issue that arose on a number of occasions at the Standards and Privileges Committee when I was a member in the last mandate.

“We start the new year with confidence in politicians and political institutions at a serious low as a result of the RHI scandal. Each and every elected representative should recognise the need for action and the promotion of transparency and accountability.

“Accordingly, I expect cross party support this time around and immediate action from the Executive Office.”

Tags: , ,