Northern Ireland Elections

Published date : 09 November, 2022
I, too, thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of his statement. I very much echo his sentiment that Northern Ireland is governed best when it is governed locally, but it is also important to recognise that government and politics in Northern Ireland work best when there are good and productive relations between London and Dublin, and between the UK and the European Union.

Northern Ireland has been in the unfortunate position of having both its Governments paralysed by inaction over the past few months, albeit for different reasons, but we have made clear our view that the best place for Members of the Legislative Assembly to be—and where the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland expect them to be—is at work in Stormont, holding a functioning Executive to account as it gets on with overseeing the delivery of vital public services. We do not think it serves the interests of people in Northern Ireland for there not to be an Executive in place, but neither would it serve their interests to hold an election, which, if it achieved anything, would only be to further entrench already well-dug positions. We therefore look forward to the legislation on the period for Executive formation, to allow for essential decision making to take place in the meantime and to allow for some long overdue negotiations to take place.

While we have been clear that the protocol was a necessary measure to protect Northern Ireland from Brexit, we have also been clear that it is not unreasonable in the light of experience for the UK Government to try to renegotiate it. Does the Secretary of State agree that any new settlement on the protocol cannot only be about Northern Ireland and that a revised settlement will only be a better settlement if it eases trade for all parts of the UK, including the UK-EU export trading environment, rather than just trade between GB and Northern Ireland?

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