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Plans for temporary return of ‘double-jobbing’ for NI politicians condemned

A Government plan to quickly restore double-jobbing for Northern Irish politicians has triggered fierce opposition from some political events.

The UK Government is dealing with criticism over plans to permit MPs to retain their seats in Westminster whereas being elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The return of the “dual mandate”, or double-jobbing, would enable DUP chief Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to contest the upcoming Assembly elections whereas additionally remaining because the MP for Lagan Valley at Westminster.

On Saturday, the chief of the Ulster Unionist Party Doug Beattie, accused the Northern Ireland Office of successfully supporting the DUP election marketing campaign.

The particulars of the transfer are outlined in a letter from Northern Ireland Office junior minister Lord Caine to members of the House of Lords.

It would see twin mandates returning solely till the following UK normal election in 2024.

The present regulation banning politicians from double-jobbing as MLAs and MPs got here into impact in 2016.

The letter, seen by the PA information company, says that the purpose of the rule-change is to keep away from triggering by-elections in Northern Ireland.

In the letter, Lord Caine stated: “There is no appetite or consensus in Northern Ireland to allow dual mandates to continue indefinitely or to return to a situation in which the overwhelming majority of MPs from Northern Ireland were also members of the Assembly.”

He informed friends that the “objective” of the UK Government is to assist the functioning of the Assembly by “providing stability in instances where the Northern Ireland Parties need to reconfigure their representation across Parliament and Stormont, without the triggering of Parliamentary by-elections”.

The UK Government, Lord Caine stated, plans to submit an modification to alter the regulation on twin mandates within the coming weeks.

It is a component of a raft of measures, already handed by way of the House the Commons, designed to consolidate power-sharing in Northern Ireland following the return of the Executive in early 2020.

However, the plans to revive the twin mandate have already proved controversial and have been criticised by some events in Northern Ireland.

Mr Beattie tweeted on Saturday: “The fact NIO now directly supporting DUP election campaign means they are not a neutral department.”

Alliance Party chief Naomi Long referred to as it a “seriously retrograde step”.

She tweeted: “I staked my own political future on ending double jobbing in 2010, when I left Council and the Assembly to focus on representing m constituents in Westminster. I was successful in getting double jobbing banned.”

“Other parties promised to act but only did when forced by legislation in 2014.

“I’ve been both an MP and an MLA: you cannot properly do both jobs in the long term.

“The ban was subject to extensive consultation: this reversal has not been.

“Fairly obvious why it’s being done.”

SDLP MP Claire Hanna tweeted: “Being an MP is a full time job, and then some, as is being an MLA.

“People deserve representation at both levels, and dual mandates were abolished for good reason. NIO should not be facilitating DUP threats and gambling with devolution.”

Leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) Jim Allister referred to as the plan a “shameless fix”.

“Last throw of the dice for some,” he tweeted.

“Dual mandates were abolished for good reason. That reason hasn’t changed. Only the desperation of the DUP has changed. What price has the DUP paid for this?”

There had been intense hypothesis in political circles about how and when Sir Jeffrey would return to native politics in Northern Ireland as an MLA, following his election as chief of the get together.

He had pledged to return to the Northern Ireland Assembly, after being elected as DUP chief final summer season.

It comes as the brand new get together chief grapples with unionist anger at controversial post-Brexit preparations for Northern Ireland, in addition to issues about slipping ballot rankings for the DUP following months of inner divisions.

The DUP share of the vote in Sir Jeffrey’s constituency was additionally slashed by over 16% within the 2019 normal election, making a by-election in Lagan Valley an unappetising prospect for the get together.

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