Secretary of State must convene process to restore devolution

Alliance Leader David Ford has called for the Secretary of State to convene all-party talks to restore full devolution¸in the wake of the Assembly’s failure to elect a First and Deputy First Minister.

Speaking in the Assembly, David Ford said: “Under the bizarre sectarian voting rules, the Assembly has been unable to elect the only combination of First Minister and Deputy First Minister that could gain support under the so-called cross-community voting rules.”

David Ford asked the speaker to call on the Secretary of State to set up immediate, intensive and inclusive all-party talks to deal with all outstanding issues. The Speaker indicated that she would inform the Secretary of State of the Assembly’s failure.

David Ford stated: “The Assembly can do some useful work in the meantime, but the priority is that every effort must be made to restore the full functions of government to local politicians. MLAs must do their job fully, the people want and demand no less than that.

“We have made clear throughout that we are here to restore devolution and to bring some responsibility to the heart of governance here. We have no interest in continuing a process which is not designed to achieve this.

“We have a very tight deadline to meet. Instead of hanging around until the autumn, the Government must get the process underway without delay.”


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