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What a farce!

20 September 2011

TUV Leader Jim Allister has described the removal of his question to the First Minister - asking why his department needs 8 Special Advisers - from the list of questions to be answered orally this afternoon by Mr Robinson, as a flagrant abuse of power and a clear sign that the First Minister’s office is too embarrassed to answer to taxpayers why they are squandering public money on 8 SPADS.

In a statement Mr Allister said:-

“I tabled a question specific to OFMDFM, which was accepted by the Business Office and then emerged 3rd in the list for reply – meaning it would definitely be reached. Then, at the last minute to avoid having to give an oral answer the Executive, not the Business office, transferred it to DFP for mere written reply.

“This high-handed and unilateral act was a flagrant abuse of power and due process. There is nothing in Standing Orders or Business Office guidance which provides for such interference. Yet it happened and, sadly, the Speaker meekly washed his hands of it.

“The surplus and high salaries of Special Advisers, along with the terrorist convictions of some, make SPADS one of the scandals of misgovernment at Stormont. The executive does everything to avoid scrutiny of the issue, with farcical written replies and now running away from the issue getting onto the floor of the House. Their behaviour in itself shows how unsavoury an issue this is.”

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NI politics