Devolution settlement being rewritten without local input, says Dickson

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has said the devolution settlement is being rewritten without any input from Northern Ireland due to the political impasse.

Mr Dickson was speaking as the Scottish and Welsh Governments published proposals for changing legislation relating to the EU Withdrawal Bill. The two First Ministers said the Bill should “work with, not against, devolution,” adding it would need to be “substantially amended” before they are able to recommend legislative consent is given by their respective Parliaments.

“While the devolved Scottish and Welsh Governments are proposing amendments to this Bill in order to ensure powers remain with the devolved institutions, the lack of a functioning Executive and operational Assembly means Northern Ireland has no input or voice.,” said Mr Dickson.

“The political vacuum means the devolution settlement is being rewritten around us but we have no say in it. In normal circumstances we would be hopeful the Assembly would be in a position to pass a legislative consent motion on this issue, but local accountability has effectively been removed.

“Brexit is the biggest challenge facing this region in decades. The majority of voters in Northern Ireland voted to remain within the EU. It is vital their interests are represented and there is an Assembly there to advocate those views so we do not miss out in these negotiations.”

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