Social Democratic and Labour Party Leader Colum Eastwood has said the DUP must support the nomination of a Speaker on Friday to allow the new Assembly to sit.
Mr Eastwood urged the DUP to return to the Executive to address the issues impacting communities in the North, including rising food, fuel and energy bills and huge health service waiting lists.
He also called on the British government to negotiate constructively with the EU to resolve the remaining issues around the Protocol and provide stability to the North’s politics.
Foyle MP Mr Eastwood said:
“The DUP’s attempt to hold the North to ransom until they get their own way on the Protocol cannot be allowed to continue. Their selfish actions show their contempt for families in our communities who are struggling to heat their homes, put food on the table and petrol in their cars during the current emergency.
“We have repeatedly acknowledged the small amount of issues that remain outstanding around the Protocol and the damage it has caused to community relations, but we need to see constructive negotiations to resolve these issues and get on with dealing with the problems that are impacting people in their daily lives.
“The people of the North have been clear that they want the Protocol to remain and to explore its benefits and one party cannot be allowed to keep our institutions in cold storage indefinitely against the wishes of the public. I am calling on the DUP to see sense, to acknowledge the challenges facing families in our communities and to support the nomination of a Speaker tomorrow and return to the Executive so that people won’t be forced to skip meals in cold homes or languish on health service waiting lists any longer.
“The DUP have been repeatedly led up the hill by the British government and have been let down every time. It should be clear to everyone here that Boris Johnson and his cronies have no interest in delivering for people in the North. The only way we are going to get to grips with the issues impacting people here are with a functioning Executive and Assembly and it’s time the DUP realised that.”