New DUP Leader can’t be allowed to choreograph collapse of institutions

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SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has warned that the new leader of the DUP can't be allowed to choreograph the collapse of the institutions at Stormont. 

Mr Eastwood said there is increasing public anger with self-interested parties with an addiction to a politics of constant crisis. The SDLP Leader said that the divisions and dramas at Stormont are nowhere near a true reflection or representation of the public's priorities - who expect all political leaders to unite and focus on coming through the pandemic and tackling the real crisis of hospital waiting lists.  

The Foyle MP's comments come ahead of the DUP selecting a new leader this week and follow weekend reports that Paul Givan has been instructed by DUP officers to resign as First Minister. 

Mr Eastwood said,

"With the imminent resignation of their First Minister, it is increasingly clear that the DUP are positioning themselves to manufacture another political crisis that will once again threaten our local institutions. In a desperate attempt to stabilise their own party, they are recklessly prepared to destabilise devolution. 

“No political party and no government should indulge this recklessness - the vast majority of the public won't indulge it, so no-one else should. They should not be pampered with another long, narrow and self-interested negotiation. If the DUP or any other party wants to raise political concerns or issues - they can work collectively through the Executive and the Assembly like the rest of us. 

“No-one should be threatening to tear down local government in the middle of a pandemic - it simply wouldn't be tolerated anywhere else and people shouldn't be expected to tolerate it here.  

“The public are long since tired and fed up with a familiar pattern of constant crisis that has come to define an Executive led by the DUP and Sinn Fein for 14 years. The truth is that many of the dramas and divisions at Stormont bear no reflection and give no representation to people's real priorities. I believe people across Northern Ireland have rarely been more united in their desire for political leaders to focus on their real priorities - coming through the pandemic and tackling the real crisis of hospital waiting lists. 

“For all its many flaws, I still think people know that we are much better off if we work together through devolution to deliver on those priorities. The terrible and almost unthinkable alternative would be handing direct rule powers to Boris Johnson and the Tories. 

“Because no matter the scale of the political crisis, the choice here always remains the same.The Irish and British peoples across this island can retreat from each other or we can again choose to work, live and govern together. 

“The SDLP remains committed to focusing on the people's real priorities and working together in all of our interests.”  

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