Blair gives commitment to act on Alliance concerns

Alliance Deputy Leader Eileen Bell MLA has said the Prime Minister has given a commitment to act on the party’s concerns about the Assembly designation and voting system, which caused a crisis during the election of a First and Deputy First Minister in November.

Speaking after Alliance’s meeting with the Prime Minister at Downing Street this evening, Mrs Bell described it as “very constructive”.

Mrs Bell said: “Alliance outlined to Mr Blair the problems with the current voting system and designations, and our proposals for reform. We impressed upon the Prime Minister that Alliance could not redesignate to save the Assembly again and that the onus is now on the two Governments and other parties to fix the problem before the next crisis.

“The Prime Minister appreciated the scale of the problem and the likely threat to the future of the Assembly, and he has undertaken to examine the issue in greater detail and respond to us.”

The Alliance delegation – Alliance Leader David Ford, General Secretary Stephen Farry and Mrs Bell – also discussed the ongoing issue of the Government’s proposed amnesty for terrorists ‘on the run’ while paramilitaries continue to forcibly exile people from Northern Ireland.

“We argued that guarantees should be sought for those forcibly exiled by paramilitaries allowing them to return safely to Northern Ireland. Mr Blair was also told that those seeking to benefit from an amnesty should admit their guilt in court before being released on licence.”


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