Armstrong says Petition of Concern reform would allow for return of Assembly after election

Reform of the Petition of Concern (POC) would allow for the return of the Assembly after the General Election, Alliance Strangford candidate Kellie Armstrong has said.

Ms Armstrong said Alliance MPs in the new Westminster mandate would push for such reforms of the POC, which while designed to protect minority rights, has often been used to block progress here. She added Alliance had brought the idea of reforming the POC during previous talks to restore devolution but to no avail.

“The public deserve better – the current stagnation is stifling social cohesion, damaging our community and hindering the chances of our young people. Politics must work for our entire community and to do that, the POC needs reformed.

“It was designed to protect minorities but in reality it has been hijacked to frustrate progress. The current stalemate could be broken if it is reformed to allow movement on a range of issues. It is crucial when the Assembly returns, the POC would be no longer used to do what it has before.

“Any Alliance MPs in the new Westminster term will seek to change the POC. Reform is a necessary measure to make any future Assembly sustainable, as well as see our society achieve equality. We need to get it back to its original intent and away from what it has become, which is used and abused to protect selfish interests.”