Clare Bailey MLA

Green Party withdraw complaint and call for Code of Conduct reform

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Clare Bailey MLA has claimed that the Assembly Code of Conduct is in need of reform.

The South Belfast MLA’s call comes as a complaint against Edwin Poots MLA was withdrawn.

Clare Bailey had made a complaint alleging that the former Health Minister had broken the Code of Conduct after he connected paedophilia with the LGBTQ community via a Twitter comment.

Mr Poots’s tweet formed the basis of a subsequent Green Party petition, attracting over 6,000 signatures in support of action in response to the tweet which was described as “homophobic” and “outrageous”.

However, in response to the complaint tabled by Clare Bailey, the Assembly Commissioner for Standards requested further evidence to support the claim that Mr Poots was acting in his official capacity as MLA when tweeting the comment.

Given that all available evidence had been submitted, the complaint will not be pursued.

Clare Bailey MLA responded:

“The Assembly Code of Conduct must be reformed to embrace a wide interpretation of when and how MLAs are acting in an official capacity.

“It’s not acceptable that MLAs continue to make statements which demean a specific section of our community.

“Mr Poots describes himself as “MLA” through his twitter handle. Yet, it was questioned as to whether or not he made his twitter staement as an MLA.

“I think most people out there would see a lack of logic the Code of Conduct in this instance.

“We find ourselves in a situation where the Assembly is not sitting. Coupled with a narrow interpretation of the Assembly Code of Conduct, MLAs are relatively unaccountable at present.

“Let’s take a proactive and common sense approach to improving standards amongst political representatives. MLAs should be providing positive leadership at this time, not perpetuating intolerance.”

ENDS

Media contact

Sinead McIvor – 07701 302 498

 

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