The Democratic Unionist Party has an obligation and a responsibility to the electorate to immediately propose an Assembly Speaker, take their seats and nominate a Deputy First Minister. Nothing less is acceptable.
The Northern Ireland Protocol needs to be amended. Many of its aspects are damaging and unnecessary, but walking away from the Executive is not the answer.
We witnessed the pattern of ‘stop/start’ government throughout the last Assembly and now, yet again, the Executive has been collapsed.
The structures of government set out in the Good Friday Agreement may be understandable in the context of the time when agreement was reached, but they are no longer fit for purpose – in part due to the ways in which these structures and mechanisms have been abused.
To secure the ability of the Assembly to function, to hold parties to account and to ensure that neither the DUP nor Sinn Fein are ever able to collapse the institutions in future, we need, as a minimum, to move from mandatory to voluntary coalition, abolish the community designation requirements and reform the Petition of Concern to ensure that it can never again be used to veto social or equality legislation.
In the meantime, those MLAs who are preventing the Assembly from functioning by frustrating the election of a new Speaker and blocking the formation of an Executive should have their salaries withheld until they return to government.
No Executive – No Salaries
If DUP MLAs do not take their seats , nominate a Deputy First Minister and allow the Executive to function then they shoud not receive their salaries until they do
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