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Summary

  1. MLAs considered the final stage of the Assembly and Executive Reform Bill which seeks to establish an official opposition.
  2. Members also debated the consideration stage of the Licensing Bill. The bill would mean outdoor stadia would be able to apply for permanent licences in order to sell alcohol.
  3. Members debated the Rural Needs Bill (further consideration stage) and the Credit Unions and Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Bill (final stage).
  4. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness and Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín answered questions on the floor of the house.

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Brooke Allen

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    Join us tomorrow morning at 10:30 GMT when Members will debate the final stage of the Employment Bill and the further consideration stage of the Justice Bill. 

    Education Minister John O'Dowd and Employment Minister Stephen Farry will take the floor in Question Time. 

  2. Amendments Fall

    All of the amendments in the final group fall.

    The speaker adjourns the assembly.  

  3. Vote on second group of amendments

    Members vote on the second group of amendments. 

    The amendments fall. 

    MLAs are now debating the final group of amendments relating to duties (identification information recording and disposal of material). 

  4. 'Bill will be an extra tool'

    Ian Milne

    Sinn Féin's Ian Milne says he "can support the principle of the bill but the party have simply run out of time to give proper consideration and scrutiny to the bill". 

    He says "I cannot support the clauses as they currently stand as there are still too many questions to be answered". 

    The SDLP's Alban Maginness says he "will be supporting Mr Beggs' amendments as the bill will be an extra tool in dealing with the problem of metal theft". 

  5. Irish election: Votes still being counted

    Irish Election Results

    We've had two more seats declared in the Irish election, as recounts continue.  

    Paul Kehoe and Michael Darcy have been elected in Fine Gael in Wexford. There are now just eight seats left to be decided, but a final result doesn't look likely until tomorrow.  

  6. Vote on first group of amendments

    Members vote on the first group of amendments.

    Clauses one to six are opposed by a majority of members.

    The debate now turns to the second group of amendments, on powers, offences and accountability.

  7. 'Sponsor it I will'

    Mark H Durkan

    Environment Minister Mark H Durkan says "the bill is not related to environmental crime, but I have been asked to sponsor it, and sponsor it I will". 

    He says there has "not been enough time to give serious consideration to the bill and I can neither commen, nor condemn the bill but support the objectives of the bill." 

  8. 'Well-intentioned'

    Alban Maginness

    Alban Maginness of the SDLP says he "shares some of the misgivings" already mentioned by other members and says he "sympathises with the bill's sponsor" as the aims of what Mr Beggs is proposing are "well intentioned".

    Mr Maginness also says he believes the bill should have come under the remit of the Justice Committee instead of the Environment Committee.

  9. 'Bill has been rushed'

    Pam Cameron

    The DUP's Pam Cameron says her party cannot support the bill as there has been no time to scrutinise it.

    She says she supports the principles and the need to protect against metal theft.

    However, she says the bill has been "rushed" and has been introduced "fairly late in the assembly term".

    Her comments are reiterated by Sinn Féin's Cathal Boylan who says, "trying to rush a bill through at the end of a mandate is not a good way of doing legislation".

    "Consultation is not a 'tick box' exercise," he says.

  10. Workable, enforceable and effective

    Anna Lo

    Environment Committee chairperson Anna Lo says "the committee's primary focus was to ensure that the bill is workable, enforceable and effective and that it would not damage the economic viability of legitimate traders". 

    Mrs Lo says that "the committee and the stakeholders recognise the merit of the bill". 

  11. 'A welcome and dramatic change of approach from the department'

    Roy Beggs

    Mr Beggs says "our current legislation is insufficient as illegal sites are still trading and polluting" and Northern Ireland is "the exception" when it comes to a lack of regulation on this issue.

    He says he found it difficult to engage with departments at an early point and "could have left the bill after the committee stage". 

    However, after the committee stage there was "a welcome and dramatic change of approach from the department". 

    Mr Beggs says that he feels that "the amendments had such merit that they should be brought to light and into the assembly". 

  12. Consideration stage: Scrap Metal Dealers Bill

    Scrap metal

    MLAs are beginning to debate the consideration stage of the Scrap Metal Dealers Bill.

    The private members’ bill, brought by Ulster Unionist Roy Beggs, is aimed at tackling metal theft.

    There are 58 amendments. 

  13. Assembly opposition bill passes

    John McCallister replies to the debate.

    The house divides, and the bill clears its final hurdle by 63 votes to 25.

  14. 'Poison at the heart of our structures'

    Jim Allister

    Jim Allister of the TUV welcomes the bill, but says it "maintains at the very heart of our structures" the "poison which spreads the disconnect" between the assembly and the public.

    Steven Agnew of the Green Party congratulates Mr McCallister but says he condemns the house.

    "We wasted the opportunity to abolish the petition of concern. We wasted the opportunity to abolish community designation. We wasted the opportunity to introduce collective responsibility," he says.

  15. 'A place for more formal dissent'

    Alex Attwood

    Alex Attwood of the SDLP is approving of the bill.

    "We recognise that creating a place called opposition, or a place for more formal dissent in this chamber, is actually healthy for our democracy," he says.

    Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy says his party remains convinced of the need for opposition structures.

    He says there had been fears that the bill would be "buried by the measures brought forward by the Stormont House and the subsequent Fresh Start Agreement.

    Trevor Lunn of Alliance says the passing of the bill will be "a good day for this assembly".

  16. Transformation of the bill

    Pat Sheehan

    Sinn Féin's Pat Sheehan, is deputy chairman of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee, which scrutinised the bill.

    He says it has changed considerably during its passage.

    Mr Sheehan lists some of the provisions which have been removed, they include formation of the opposition by technical groups, the establishment of a budget committee and the renaming of the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister.

  17. The bill is enhanced

    Mr McCallister says that "like all bills, whether I was a minister or not, I didn't get everything that I would have wanted, or like to have seen in the bill".

    "The bill on its oppositional side is largely intact and enhanced," he adds. 

    Mr McCallister says that passing the bill will "show the sign that we are fit to reform".