Secretary of State needs to go further if Executive to be restored, says Long

Alliance Leader Naomi Long MLA has said the Secretary of State needs to go further than steps she outlined today if an Executive is to be restored.

Mrs Long was speaking after Karen Bradley’s speech to the House of Commons, which stated she would take steps to provide clarity on the Budget and also decide shortly on a decision around MLAs’ wages. The East Belfast MLA has written to Ms Bradley to outline suggestions on how to reinstate the power-sharing institutions here.

“Today’s speech confirmed the Secretary of State will move ahead to consultation on the legacy structures agreed at Stormont House, which ensure victims and survivors of legacy cases do not suffer further thanks to delays caused by political failure. That is welcome. A commitment to provide clarity on a Budget is also welcome – the public cannot be allowed to suffer further as a result of political failure.

“We also hope the Secretary of State will act on the issue of MLA pay – continuing to pay full salaries during this suspension is untenable and has been for some time. Alliance encourages her to address it as soon as possible.

“There remain other options which the Secretary of State should be considering to try and aid the restoration of the Assembly. We offered a range of options, including bringing legislation through Westminster to address some of the issues which have not been able to be resolved, as well as transitional arrangements to address the current democratic deficit due to the absence of a fully functioning Assembly.

“In addition, we remain convinced only all-party talks led by an independent mediator are capable of reaching a sustainable and inclusive solution to this ongoing impasse, and they should be convened as soon as possible. Any more delay leaves the door open for further political drift and makes it yet more difficult to deliver a restored Executive.”

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