SDLP MLAs have tabled a petition to recall the Northern Ireland Assembly this evening as the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill passes its third reading in the House of Commons.
The Opposition in the Northern Ireland Assembly is set to test the DUP’s commitment to the devolved institutions and what Jeffrey Donaldson described as a ‘graduated approach’ based on the Bill’s progress.
The party will table a motion focussed on the immediate challenges facing working families across Northern Ireland who have been left with no support during the most severe cost of living crisis in living memory which will give MLAs the opportunity to nominate a Speaker.
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP said:
“More than 75 days since an Assembly election where people were promised change, all that they’ve got is more of the same division and deadlock at Stormont. Faced with the most severe cost of living crisis in living memory, the vast majority of working families across Northern Ireland have yet to receive a single penny of support from their Executive. And with new figures from the ONS showing inflation dangerously close to 10%, the hard truth is that many households will not cope.
“There has never been any justification for a boycott of the devolved institutions. The crisis that people are facing is hurting nationalists, unionists and everyone else equally. The extraordinary disinterest that the DUP has shown in the lives of working families by keeping Stormont down cannot continue.
“Now that the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is set, unfortunately, to receive its third reading in the House of Commons, Jeffrey Donaldson’s paper thin excuses for collapsing the Assembly have evaporated. That is why the SDLP has this afternoon tabled an Assembly Recall Petition to test the integrity of the DUP and provide an opportunity to restore Stormont by electing a Speaker.
“Jeffrey Donaldson is running out of road. He cannot continue to hold our people to ransom while he plays power games in London. With energy, fuel and food prices soaring, wages stagnating and public services on the brink, we need Stormont working now. The SDLP, as the Opposition to the division and deadlock that has gripped Stormont, will provide an opportunity for MLAs to get back to work.”