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DUP deny snub for Lord Morrow and Mervyn Storey as senior committee posts revealed

Former finance minister Mervyn Storey was overlooked for a committee post. Picture by Hugh Russell

THE DUP has rejected suggestions that two of its ministers from the last executive have fallen out of favour with leader Arlene Foster.

Former finance minister Mervyn Storey and his social development counterpart Lord Maurice Morrow were both overlooked when key committee jobs were handed out on Wednesday.

The two former DUP ministers were not the only high profile Stormont figures not to be given scrutiny posts.

The absence of former Sinn Féin finance and personnel committee chairman Daithí McKay also raised eyebrows.

Wednesday's appointments saw opposition leader Mike Nesbitt take the chair of the scrutiny committee for Ms Foster and Martin McGuinness's Executive Office, where he will be supported by fellow Ulster Unionist Sandra Overend, while their party colleague Robin Swann will head the Public Accounts Committee. SDLP leader Colum Eastwood is chair of the communities committee, with South Belfast MLA Claire Hanna taking the deputy's role on the finance committee.

Sinn Féin's Linda Dillon will chair the agriculture committee, deputised by Declan Kearney, with Conor Murphy taking the corresponding post on the economy committee and the UUP's Steve Aiken acting as vice-chairman.

West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff will chair the education committee, with Alliance's Chris Lyttle as his deputy. Former Sinn Féin agriculture minister Michelle Gildernew was appointed deputy chair of the communities committee.

The DUP gave the finance chair to former junior minister Emma Pengelly and the corresponding health committee role to Paula Bradley, with fellow DUP MLA Gary Middleton as her deputy.

DUP MLAs William Humphrey and William Irwin were selected as chair and deputy respectively for the infrastructure committee and Paul Frew and Pam Cameron taking the corresponding roles on the justice committee.

Asked if Mr Storey and Lord Morrow had been snubbed by Ms Foster, a DUP spokesman said: "The DUP has only the largest but the most talented team within the assembly.

"With both experienced MLAs and new talent coming through it means there were more MLAs than the positions available."

The spokesman said all the party's MLAs played a role in scrutinising legislation within the assembly.

Stormont Committee chair/vice chairs:

:: Agriculture

Linda Dillion (SF)

Declan Kearney (SF)

:: Communities

Colum Eastwood (SDLP)

Michelle Gildnernew (SF)

:: Economy

Conor Murphy (SF)

Steve Aiken (UUP)

:: Education

Barry McElduff (SF)

Chris Lyttle (ALL)

:: Executive

Mike Nesbitt (UU)

Sandra Overend (UU)

:: Finance

Emma Pengelly (DUP)

Claire Hanna (SDLP)

:: Health

Paula Bradley (DUP)

Gary Middleton (DUP)

:: Infrastructure

William Humphrey (DUP)

William Irwin (DUP)

:: Justice

Paul Frew (DUP)

Pam Cameron (DUP)

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