Monthly Archives: January 2020

Alex Kane: Unless Robin Swann’s successor can slow the UUP’s decline, he’s just changing the name on the leader’s door

Those figures make life difficult for any leader who is serious about the UUP having a clear, unambiguous, stand-alone identity: the sort of identity which might attract some non-voting pro-Union support, as well as ending what has become a growing drift to Alliance from one-time UUP supporters. The other difficulty for the UUP is that it has tried one thing after another to end the spiral of decline. Reg Empey built an electoral policy/pact with David Cameron (the UCUNF project), but it failed to deliver any seats in the 2010 general election. His successor, Tom Elliott, lasted less than 18 months and, announcing his resignation, complained that some people had not given him a fair “opportunity at developing and progressing many initiatives”; adding that the hostility began immediately after he became leader. His successor, Mike Nesbitt, had a tendency to drift from one position to another. And, while his ‘Vote … Continue reading

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Proper plans weren’t made for Stormont return, says Sugden

Claire Sugden Independent unionist MLA Claire Sugden has hit out at the five Executive parties for not planning in advance for the return of devolution. The former justice minister said that with MLAs now having to consider 600 statutory rules, it was limiting how often the Assembly could sit. She said there was now only one plenary session a week which disadvantaged MLAs from the smaller parties and independents like herself. Ms Sugden said: “The suspension of devolution for three years has meant a huge build-up of statutory rules that have to be scrutinised by MLAs and respective committees. “Legally, these rules must be considered within 10 plenary days. “The only way to realistically do that is to reduce the number of plenary days. “So rather than the Assembly sitting twice a week, as it used to, it is now sitting once a week. “MLAs are losing our voice in … Continue reading

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MLA pay rise: Parties challenged to ‘reject and not defer’ £1,000 hike

Stormont political parties have been challenged by a fellow MLA not to merely ‘defer’ an across the board pay rise of £1,000 a head – but to reject it outright. And the Royal College of Nursing has also broken its silence on the matter, highlighting its ongoing campaign for pay parity and safe staffing levels. People Before Profilt MLA Gerry Caroll called for the pay rise to be rejected after Stormont’s five main party leaders issued a rare joint statement asking to ‘defer’ the pay rise, which came only days after they agreed to go back into government after a three-year hiatus. Leading figures from across the parties said on Tuesday that they had been blindsided by the rise, a sub-inflationary annual rise of £500 per year set by an independent panel in 2016. A further £500 is due to be awarded in April. Most of the parties issued terse … Continue reading

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Stormont Live: Agriculture Committee sits for first time

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SDLP’s Eastwood accuses Sinn Fein of breaking agreement over Assembly Speaker | MOOSE GAZETTE

The new Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey MLA (PA) SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said that Sinn Fein went back on agreement that Patsy McGlone would be the new Assembly Speaker. Sinn Fein’s West Belfast MLA Alex Maskey was elected Speaker on Saturday with the support of the DUP. However, Mr Eastwood said the original agreement was that Mr McGlone would be Speaker until Sinn Fein changed their mind an hour before the election. “The way that the Speaker role was divvied up on Monday wasn’t the best start,” the SDLP leader told BBC Radio Foyle. “We had never had the Speaker’s position, we felt that it was right that someone from the SDLP had it this time and that was the understanding for the last couple of years. The UUP nominated MLA Roy Beggs for the position. The Foyle MLA said it was “widely understood” that … Continue reading

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