HomeUK TRAVELStormont stalemate: UK government 'knows steps' needed to restore power sharing

Stormont stalemate: UK government ‘knows steps’ needed to restore power sharing

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Stormont CEO has been suspended since February 2022

The DUP said the “ball was firmly at the feet of the government” as it knew the steps needed to restore Northern Ireland’s power-sharing government.

Deputy Leader Gavin Robinson was speaking after he and Sir Jeffrey Donaldson met Foreign Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris in London.

It is part of ongoing negotiations to restore Stormont institutions.

The CEO collapsed in February 2022 due to the DUP’s opposition to post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Heaton Harris met with the DUP, SDLP and the Unionist Party on Wednesday and will travel to Northern Ireland on Thursday for talks with Sinn Féin and the Ulster Unionist Party.

Mr. Robinson said the meeting with Mr. Heaton-Harris was very productive, but more meaningful action was needed.

“We want to see progress on the legislation, the government will take it forward, the next time for them to do that is in September and I hope they will continue the work,” he said.

In June, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) submitted a paper to the UK government with proposals on how to address key issues with the Windsor Framework.

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Gavin Robinson said the DUP wants to see progress on legislation,

The DUP deputy leader said they are working through the document with the government.

Mr Heaton-Harris declined to make “ongoing comment” on discussions with the DUP.

Civil servants have been running Northern Ireland agencies since the executive branch collapsed 16 months ago, when the DUP withdrew as part of a boycott of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Post-Brexit trade rules monitoring protocol for Northern Ireland.

The Windsor Framework has made changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol to significantly reduce the number of post-Brexit checks required for goods traveling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also met with Mr Heaton-Harris on Wednesday afternoon and said it was “a real shame” that Stormont would not be reinstated before September.

“The DUP has been given way too much and it is time for the government to be much tougher on them and bring them back to Stormont,” he said.

“It should be made clear to them (DUP) that the alternative to no government at Stormont is not direct rule from London, but rather greater involvement of the Irish government in Northern Ireland’s affairs.

“The DUP is sitting idly by in some technical dispute over a trade deal in which they have no role.

“The deal between the UK government and the European Commission is complete, now it’s time for the DUP to work again.”

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Stephen Farry says DUP needs to be realistic about what can be achieved on the Windsor Framework

Unionist Stephen Farry said his party was concerned that as time went on, reinstating the council “could get more and more difficult”.

He said: “It has been more than four months since the Windsor Framework was unified and we have yet to see executive and council activity restored.

He added that the secretary of state and the DUP were working on “some sort of fix” to the problem but he was “not entirely sure that the government and the DUP are on the same page”.

He added: “It is important for the DUP to be realistic about what can be achieved.

‘Challenging’ budget decisions

The Secretary of State has reiterated that his focus remains on getting the Northern Ireland Executive back on as soon as possible.

Jayne Brady outlined her position in a letter to Mr Heaton-Harris in which she claimed that public servants had made “challenging” budget decisions worth £1 billion so far.

The Northern Ireland office said the Northern Ireland secretary was “deeply aware of the challenges faced by ministries and public servants”.

A budget set by the government for this financial year required the permanent secretaries to save.

For months, the parties held discussions with Ms. Brady about priorities for an incoming chief executive.


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