David Ford MLA said: “We have submitted a response to the DUP-Sinn Féin proposals, which they shared with us after talks last Tuesday, and hope that our proposals will be able to form the basis for progress in coming days.
“There are three distinct issues which are being conflated together in a way which is unhelpful to their proper resolution. We have sought to separate out those issues and address each directly in a way which will resolve them regardless of which parties hold which posts going forward.
“The first is the issue of how the Justice Minister is appointed and their security of tenure. It is clear that there is insufficient confidence to leave this Ministry as a pick in D’Hondt and so a cross community vote will still be required; however, there also a need to ensure that the tenure of the Justice Minister is consistent with other Ministers.
“As a result of the appointment mechanism, there is a second issue in that any party which provides the Justice Minister will be over-represented in the Executive. We have put forward a proposal which acknowledges the need for cross community support, but also addresses the issue of proportionality in the Executive.
“The third issue is that of reform of the number of Departments and we have also set out the preferred means of obtaining a significant reduction in Departments, in a way that is coherent and provides efficient Government for the benefit of the public.
“We look forward to further engagement around these proposals in order that they can be resolved in an effective and durable way.”