SDLP MPs have submitted a suite of amendments to the Northern Ireland Executive Formation Bill.
The amendments would see the pay of MLAs who vote against all candidates for the office of Speaker, thereby vetoing the return of the Northern Ireland Assembly, reduced to zero. The SDLP proposals would also introduce new requirements for consultation with the Irish Government and the First Ministers designate ahead of decisions made in the absence of an Executive.
Speaking ahead of the bill’s consideration, Claire Hanna MP said:
“People and public services in Northern Ireland are being placed in an impossible position by DUP MLAs who are refusing to turn up to work. In the middle of a cost of living crisis and a health service emergency, there is no justification for their continued boycott of government.
“People trying to make ends meet or trying to get a hospital appointment shouldn’t have to pay the price for this fiasco – it should be DUP MLAs. That’s why the SDLP has tabled a proposal to reduce the salary of MLAs who veto the return of the Assembly to zero. If they won’t turn up for work, they shouldn’t get paid.
“In the absence of an Executive, the SDLP is also clear that this Tory Government cannot determine public policy in Northern Ireland alone. We have tabled new proposals that would give the Irish Government a formal consultative role as well as the First Ministers designate. The institutions of government here rely on nationalists, unionists and others working together in our substantial common interests. That principle must be hardwired into any governance arrangements, even those which operate on a temporary basis.
“None of these amendments should be necessary. This entire bill is a monument to political failure. But for as long as this fiasco continues, the SDLP will defend people who want no part in it and are just trying to get on with their lives.”