Long says double-jobbing plans don’t go far enough

East Belfast MP Naomi Long has hailed plans to stop MLAs double-jobbing as MPs but added that proposed legislation does not go far enough to prevent dual mandates.

Alliance MP Mrs Long said the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which passed its Second Reading Stage in the House of Commons yesterday (Monday) did not cover all parts of the UK legislature, meaning those who wished to have more than one post still could.

Mrs Long said she was disappointed the proposed legislation did not cover those who sat in the House of Lords.

“There are anomalies in the area of double-jobbing that certainly need addressed. Although I recognise that the House of Lords is not structured in the same way as the Commons, I believe a conflict exists there. The Lords has an important role as scrutiniser of Government Bills and so it is challenging to expect a peer who is also an MLA would be able to fully commit to either role.

“Generally, parties made promises prior to the previous election that most have yet to fulfil. Whilst I stepped down from my roles at the Assembly and Belfast City Council within weeks of being elected to Westminster, three years on it is very clear others will continue to drag their heels and not implement their commitments until legislation is enacted forcing them to do so.

“I do not believe MPs should be permitted to continue to be MLAs. Now the Assembly is in its second successive uninterrupted term, the argument that its structure is unstable and senior political figures could find themselves without a mandate if it collapsed is no longer valid.

“As Deputy Leader of Alliance and also MP for East Belfast, it is vital for me to keep abreast of developments in both Westminster and Stormont. That does not require me to sit in both places. Having been both an MP and MLA, I strongly believe both jobs are full-time and require a focus which cannot be achieved effectively if a representative has a dual mandate and therefore equally demanding competition for time and attention. Simply put, no person can be in two places at once.”


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