24/01/2024

SDLP Proposes Amendment To Executive Formation Bill

The SDLP has said that it will seek to amend proposed legislation extending the deadline for the formation of an Executive after the previous deadline passed last week.

MP's Colum Eastwood and Claire Hanna will table an amendment to reform the process for electing an Assembly Speaker to a two-thirds majority, removing the one-party veto on the re-establishment of the Assembly.

The SDLP MPs will also submit an amendment placing an obligation on the Secretary of State to deliver a pay award for public sector workers in the absence of a power-sharing Executive.

Speaking following a business statement in the House of Commons this afternoon Colum Eastwood MP said: "People are beyond sick of hearing the same old statements about progress in the exclusive negotiations between the DUP and the British Government with nothing to show for it. The hard reality is that the only thing they’ve delivered is worse living standards for people across the North, an unprecedented period of industrial action and the further erosion of public services. Enough is enough.

"We are prepared to give the space for a deal to be done but people won’t be strung along forever. That’s why the SDLP will seek to amend the legislation to extend the deadline for the formation of an Executive to break the deadlock and begin to restore power to local decision makers. We will again bring forward a proposal to reform the process of electing a Speaker of the Assembly to remove the one-party veto that has overridden the clear will of a majority of MLAs.

"We will also seek to place a legal obligation on the Secretary of State to deliver the resource for a pay award for public sector workers in line with the commitment made by the Northern Ireland Office and the British Treasury to parties before Christmas. The people keeping our public services going should not be punished for a failure of political leadership. The SDLP told striking workers last week we would do everything we can to help them - we intend to keep that promise.

"But make no mistake - people are beyond breaking point and have run out of patience with the way things are. This has changed things. There should be no surprise when greater numbers of people start talking about a bigger process of change to allow them to live and work in a functioning society."

"The psychodrama of the last few days, and the last few years, has helped no one. It is now time for political leaders to get back to work and for the DUP to make a deal. The SDLP will use the mandate we received to help people across our communities. That is our focus this week."


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