Dickson angered by SDLP and Sinn Fein veto of suspension of Gerry Kelly

Alliance Chief Whip, Stewart Dickson MLA, has expressed his anger after Sinn Fein and the SDLP blocked the suspension of Gerry Kelly from the Assembly for five days after he accepted an informed warning for an incident at a parade in North Belfast last year. The two parties submitted a petition of concern which prevented the motion being passed on Tuesday.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “I am very disappointed by the decision of Sinn Fein and the SDLP to block the recommendation of the Standards and Privileges Committee to suspend Gerry Kelly.

“By accepting an informed warning, Gerry Kelly has admitted that he broke the law. This is a clear breach of the code of conduct. The Assembly has a duty to show that no person is above the law which is why I am angered by the veto of this suspension. Alliance is the Party for the rule of law which is why we supported the suspension of Mr Kelly and because this was the recommendation of the independent Assembly Commisioner for Standards. Alliance is disappointed that the Assembly failed to uphold his report and recommendations.

“While the DUP also voiced their opposition to Sinn Fein and the SDLP blocking the suspension of Gerry Kelly, they need to remember that they have done the exact same thing to block suspensions of their own MLAs. If they were willing to support the suspension of Gerry Kelly then they must also support any punishment against Ruth Patterson who also accepted an informed warning from the PSNI over social media comments. Many senior members of the DUP even supported Cllr Patterson when she attended the High Court. Parties must show consistency when responding to the behaviour of politicians that is below the standards we expect.”


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