“We are encouraged that the First Minister and deputy First Minister have engaged with a number of the concerns we raised in our response to their initial proposals, in particular the commitment to seek Westminster legislation to ensure that the tenure of a Justice Minister is consistent with other Ministers. We will work with the other parties, and with the Secretary of State, to ensure that the Westminster legislation delivers what good government requires.
“It is regrettable that the First Minister and deputy First Minister remain determined to remove just one department, rather than engage in a more comprehensive review and reduction to eight departments that we and others have proposed. There is no good reason why this should come before the review of government institutions already scheduled for 2012, and on which the First Minister and deputy First Minister have said they intend to ‘make an early start’.
“There continues to be much media interest in Alliance’s willingness to serve in the Department of Justice beyond May 2012. That is a decision that our Party Council will take in its own time, and in light of the content and timing of the Westminster legislation that is being sought by the First Minister and deputy First Minister.”