Monday 23 October 2017

Stop paying politicians in North if they won't do deal, MP urges

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire pledged yesterday to keep 'all options under consideration' in his efforts to form a new executive. Photo: PA
Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire pledged yesterday to keep 'all options under consideration' in his efforts to form a new executive. Photo: PA

Lizzy Buchan

Politicians in the North should be denied their salaries if they fail to reach a power-sharing agreement, a former UK minister has said.

Former Northern Ireland secretary Owen Paterson said withholding pay from MLAs might "crystallise minds" in the Northern Ireland Assembly against lengthy negotiations.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire pledged yesterday to keep "all options under consideration" in his efforts to form a new executive.

During an urgent statement on Northern Ireland in the UK House of Common, Mr Paterson asked Mr Brokenshire: "Would you agree with me that there is one measure that would put pressure on the parties to come back to the talks and might crystallise minds, and that would be to make it clear that should the elected members not form the executive after a lengthy period of negotiation then their salaries and expenses will not be paid from the public purse?"

Meanwhile, UK Labour Party MPs have urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to join the talks in Northern Ireland amid concerns her "laissez faire approach" could damage progress.

Former shadow Northern Ireland secretary Vernon Coaker led calls for Mrs May and Taoiseach Enda Kenny to help break the deadlock on power-sharing talks.

His concern was echoed by Conor McGinn, MP for St Helens North, who questioned why Mrs May had not visited the North after recent trips to Wales and Scotland.

However, Mr Brokenshire rejected the calls and said both leaders were deeply engaged in the process.

Owen Smith, a special adviser during the peace talks 20 years ago, said the presence of the prime minister could add weight to discussions on the future of the North.

Irish Independent

Also in this section