Stormont Speaker will earn £87k salary up until replacement appointed

DUP Assembly speaker Robin Newton has been heavily criticised by opposition MLAs who have called for his resignation.

THE Assembly speaker Robin Newton is set to continue earning his £87,000 annual salary until after any Stormont election.

If the DUP speaker remains in position and survives calls for his resignation he will be paid his full salary during the dissolution of the Assembly for election and until a new speaker is appointed.

Mr Newton's annual salary is £87,000 - £49,000 for his role as an East Belfast MLA and a further £38,000 for holding the office of Assembly speaker.

An Assembly spokesperson has confirmed that both the speaker and ministers in office would continue to receive their salaries during any dissolution period.

"Under the provisions of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and Standing Orders, during the dissolution of the Assembly for an election, the speaker remains in office until the election of a speaker is held as the first business of a new Assembly. During dissolution ministers hold office until the end of the day of the poll for the next Assembly. Both the speaker and ministers continue to receive their salaries while in office."

From Monday it is understood both Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness will no longer receive their ministerial salary as they will no longer hold the joint office of First and Deputy First Minister.

Each were being paid a £121,000 annual salary, but it is believed both will now receive the base rate for an MLA.

According to guidance issued by the Assembly ahead of the 2016 election,s MLAs who are standing for election will be paid their salary "up to and including polling day".

Any member retiring at dissolution will receive their "up to and including the last day prior to the date of dissolution."

It is unsure whether the speaker or ministers would receive their full office salaries in event of proceedings at Stormont being suspended.

On Tuesday, Sinn Féin MLA Carál Ní Chuilín tabled a motion of no confidence in the speaker to the Assembly's business committee.

The party motion calling for Mr Newton's immediate resignation is set is set to be heard in the chamber on Monday.

"His position is now untenable and he needs to resign," she said.

The party has withdrawn its motion on RHI, originally set to be debated on Monday in the wake of Mr McGuinness' resignation.

A separate joint motion of no confidence in the speaker from the SDLP and UUP is currently on the no day named list for debate in the Assembly.

Stormont stands on the brink of collapse after Monday's decision by the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to resign over the botched Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

Sinn Féin now have until Monday to appoint a replacement or the Secretary of State James Brokenshire looks set to call a fresh general election within what legislation says is a "reasonable time period".

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