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Summary

  1. Sinn Féin call for executive to introduce human rights action plans passed with Green Party amendment
  2. DUP choose not to move motion calling for reform of "unnecessarily burdensome" regulation for businesses
  3. Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen and Communities Minister Paul Givan appear at Question Time

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran and Iain McDowell

All times stated are UK

  1. Unexpected early bath for members

    Speaker Robin Newton calls on Gordon Lyons to move the DUP motion on regulatory reform and a balanced economy.

    "Not moved!" says Mr Lyons.

    Inside the Great Hall at parliament Buildings

    Mr Newton immediately adjourns the assembly, allowing MLAs time to slip off for some Christmas shopping, and therefore that's all from us for the day, too.

    Join us at 10:30 tomorrow morning for full Stormont Live coverage of Tuesday's business, including a debate on the Social Investment Fund.

    Goodnight for now!

  2. Amended Sinn Féin motion on human rights is carried

    The house divides on the Green Party amendment, which is then carried by 57 votes to 34.

    The amended motion passes by 58 votes to 34.

  3. 'Human Rights Act repeal would be a grievous breach'

    With Question Time at an end, MLAs return to the debate on Sinn Féin's motion on human rights.

    Cathal Boylan winds the debate by warning against "the potential repeal of the Human Rights Act", saying that it would be "a grievous breach of the Good Friday Agreement".

    Cathal Boylan

    Mr Boylan welcomes the overall tone of the debate but he says  referring to TUV leader Jim Allister's comments made about his Sinn Féin colleague Seán Lynch were "unnecessary".

    "Some people want to go back to the past," the Newry and Armagh MLA says.

  4. 'BBC's SPOTY judging process not transparent or fair'

    The BBC's judging process for its Sports Personality of the Year award shortlist is not transparent or fair, Mr Givan says.

    Carl Frampton

    He has written to the the "highest levels" of the corporation to complain about the omission of boxer Carl Frampton (above), motorcycle racer Jonathan Rea and Paralympic swimmer Bethany Firth, but says the response he has received has not been helpful.

    "I don't believe that the process they have in place is either transparent or indeed fair in representing the people of Northern Ireland," he tells the assembly.

  5. 'No executive disagreement over councils' powers'

    Mr Givan's decision not to devolve community regeneration powers to Northern Ireland's 11 councils is raised by the UUP's Jenny Palmer, who asks what consultation was done beforehand.

    The minister says he met councils and the Northern Ireland Local Government Association to outline the rationale for his decision.

    Mr Givan speaking

    He says that now the decision has been taken, people need to "move on" and start to "apply themselves to maximising the opportunities that exists for local governments".

    Mrs Palmer asks if he was on a "solo run" when he made the call, after Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said he was "disappointed" that the powers would not be handed down.

    Mr Givan says there is "no disagreement" on the matter, adding that communities organisations he has met are "delighted" that councils will not get the powers.

  6. 'Executive taking new approach to tackling poverty'

    Continuing on the issue of the social strategy, Mr Givan says he will bring a draft document before the executive for approval.

    Along with gender equality issues, it will set out a "new approach" to tackling poverty, he tells the assembly.

    Elderly man's hands with coins

    "I can assure members that when they see it they will see a very detailed plan that really seeks to address the causation factors that drive people into poverty," the minister says.

    "This is a very different way of going about the business the government has had in the past in respect of tackling poverty."

  7. 'Fresh thinking required on gender equality'

    "Stark examples of gender equality" still exist in Northern Ireland, 40 years after the introduction of sex discrimination law, Mr Givan says.

    "There still remains a gender pay gap," he tells the assembly, and he adds that 36% of women believe they have been disadvantaged at work as a result of a pregnancy.

    Striking female machinists from the Ford Dagenham plant in 1968
    Image caption: Women workers at Ford's Dagenham plant went on strike for equal pay in 1968

    That is in spite of a gender equality strategy being in place for 10 years, he adds.

    The communities minister says "fresh thinking is required" and will be looked at in the executive's social strategy, which "will go out to consultation in due course".

  8. Question Time for communities minister

    Paul Givan

    Paul Givan is at the despatch box to take question on the work at the Department for Communities.

    At the outset, he pays tribute to Austin Hunter, the former BBC journalist and News Letter editor, who died in Bahrain on Saturday.

  9. 'Lough Foyle border dispute goes back to Charles II'

    The DUP's Lord Morrow asks about the disputed ownership of Lough Foyle and Carlingford Lough.

    The minister says the ownership issue does not lie within the control of the assembly.

    Lough Foyle

    Ms McIlveen says the matter "dates back to 1662 and the charter of Charles II, when he granted the waters, the bed as well as the fisheries of Lough Foyle to the Irish Society".

    She says the Irish government, the Foreign Office and the Crown Estates have been in discussions on the matter for some time.

  10. 'Red kites, buzzards and peregrines killed in Mournes'

    The minister's DUP colleague Pam Cameron asks about the poisoning of birds of prey.

    Ms McIlveen says there are people "who are placing highly-toxic poisons where wildlife, livestock, pets and people could come in contact with them".

    A buzzard

    Ulster Unionist Harold McKee asks for specific information about killings of red kites in County Down's Mourne mountains.

    The minister says she does not have complete figures but a recent report highlighted "four red kites, four buzzards, two peregrines, one sparrowhawk and a raven".

  11. 'Household recycling has quadrupled since 2002'

    Cathal Boylan of Sinn Féin asks about progress on the implementation of the zero waste strategy.

    Landfill

    The minister says that the proportion of waste sent to landfill "has now fallen to its lowest ever level".

    Miss McIlveen adds that the household waste recycling level has "more than quadrupled from 10% in 2002 to 42.2% last year".

  12. Question Time for agriculture minister

    Michelle McIlveen

    Michelle McIlveen is answering questions  from members on the floor of the house on her work heading the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

  13. 'NI not meeting minimum rights standards'

    Winding his party's motion, Green Party leader Steven Agnew says Northern Ireland is "not meeting minimum human rights standards".

    Steven Agnew

    "To give ourselves credibility to lecture and to admonish others," he adds, "we need to ensure in Northern Ireland that we uphold to human rights standards that we are signed up to."

    He adds that the assembly should "at least commit" to that "very modest outcome" of guaranteeing "minimum human rights standards".

  14. 'DUP and Sinn Féin split on human rights'

    SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon winds her party's amendment to the motion, saying the most "disappointing aspect" of the debate is that no executive minister is present to respond.

    Nichola Mallon

    "On an issue of such fundamental importance," she says, "the DUP and Sinn Féin are completely and utterly split."

  15. 'Motion's proposer had murder in his heart'

    TUV leader Jim Allister accuses Sinn Féin of "hypocrisy" in bringing the motion.

    "It comes from a party, which has gone out of its way over many years, to justify and stand over the denial of that absolute human right - the right to life," the TUV leader says.

    Jim Allister

    He attacks the motion's proposer Mr Lynch, who spent time in prison during the Troubles, saying he had "murder in his heart".

    "It could only happen in Stormont," he says, for someone "to clutch to themselves the clothing of human rights when they stand convicted of possession of explosives with intent to endanger life".

  16. 'Sinn Féin not covered in glory over human rights'

    Richie McPhillips speaking in the chamber

    SDLP MLA Richie McPhillips says Sinn Féin's proposal of the motion is "progress" as its history "has been anything but graced in glory in terms of human rights".

    He says the families of the Disappeared - people abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA during the Troubles - "still await the return of their loves ones".

  17. 'Austin Hunter a man of humanity and compassion'

    Ulster Unionist Danny Kennedy pays tribute to former BBC journalist and News Letter Austin Hunter, who died in Bahrain on Saturday, saying he was "a man of great humanity and compassion".

    He says the conflict in the Middle East has provided "striking reminders of the importance" of the need for human rights to be upheld.

    Austin Hunter
    Image caption: Numerous tributes have been paid to journalist Austin Hunter

    The Newry and Armagh MLA says the executive should make compliance with human rights an "important consideration" when it is building links with countries.

    And he concludes by having a pop at Sinn Féin for its tributes to former Cuban president Fidel Castro, who died last week, with Mr Kennedy saying his human rights record was "appalling".

  18. 'First minister should stand up for rights in China'

    Alliance Party MLA Stewart Dickson says that while some may see an irony in Sinn Féin bringing a motion in human rights, "I nevertheless stand to thank them for bringing this motion today".

    A Chinese national flag

    After an intervention from his party colleague Kellie Armstrong, Mr Dickson agrees that First Minister Arlene Foster should raise the matter of human rights during her visit to China this week.

  19. 'No point in trading insults'

    Ulster Unionist Doug Beattie says it should be remembered why the UK signed up to the UN declaration in 1948 after World War Two and "the genocide that happened then".

    He says there is nothing he can really object to in the Sinn Féin motion.

    Doug Beattie

    "I see no point in trading insults about the place," Mr Beattie says.

    He talks of his experience as a soldier serving in Afghanistan and the human rights denied to women who had their fingers cut off for voting in elections.

  20. 'Sinn Féin's call for human rights hard to palate'

    It is "particularly hard to palate" for the DUP's Philip Logan for Sinn Féin to propose a motion on human rights while some of its members have "denied the very right of life to many over the years".

    He points out the effects on those killed and injured by the IRA during the Troubles.

    Philip Logan

    Mr Logan also claims the assembly is "leading the way" on human rights issues.

    And he says there are some in the assembly who appear to "champion human rights" but also "quite happy to deny the right of life to a child", adding that his party will stand "up for the unborn child".