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Armstrong calls for Assembly systems to enable remote debate

Alliance Chief Whip Kellie Armstrong MLA has written to the Assembly’s Committee for Procedures to request the possibility for MLAs to participate in plenary debate remotely.

The Assembly uses the Starleaf software system for Committee rooms but unlike Westminster, there is no capacity for remote participation in the Chamber itself. Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong said MLAs could better represent their constituents if the Assembly was fully remote-enabled.

“The current regulations state where possible, people should work from home. As the body which legislates on the regulations, the Assembly should lead by example,” she said.

“However, the current system prevents MLAs who are isolating or shielding and working remotely from participating fully in their role, by not being able to take part in business in the Assembly Chamber.

“We are approaching a year into this pandemic, therefore it is concerning the Assembly seems to expect people to work remotely but MLAs are unable to fully. MLAs could work more effectively and represent their constituents better if remote working was enabled fully. I have now written to the Committee for Procedures and requested that happen. I hope a positive response comes soon.”