The Strangford Assembly member stated: “The Secretary of State has issues a press release that the relevant Committee will reconvene tomorrow, yet his own private office is unable to say what time the meeting is. This sums up the sheer incompetence involved.
“People did not elect MLAs to sit on their hands waiting for Peter Hain to tell them what they may and may not discuss. We want to get on with the job both of reforming the institutions so that they work, and representing our constituents’ concerns.
“The Secretary of State has blamed the parties for failing to elect a chair of the ‘Preparation for Government Committee’, but he was the one who provided inappropriate standing orders, and he has even been unable to define the term ‘consensus’.
“We have entered these talks with a clear task to promote reform and fairness in advance of the November deadline, but have faced nothing but stalling and stagnation. The Governments as signatories to the Agreement and the parties with the largest mandates have responsibility to the people of Northern Ireland to get on with the job properly.”