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Allister calls for a new form of direct rule to be run alongside Assembly if the Executive collapses in 2017

By Suzanne Breen

TUV leader Jim Allister has said that if Stormont collapses in 2017, a new, more accountable form of direct rule should be introduced.

Mr Allister said: "Should the Sinn Fein/DUP cabal - despite the self-interest that glues it together - finally implode in 2017, then there is no point in trying to again stick together the fragments of failure.

"Instead, Stormont's Executive functions should be suspended till there is a readiness to embrace the only form of devolution capable of working - that based on voluntary, not mandatory, coalition.

"In the interim, direct rule ministers should replace the Executive, but, crucially, the Assembly should continue as the lawmaking body, thereby retaining local democratic control."

In his New Year statement, Mr Allister said that mandatory coalition should be consigned to political history next year.

"How many times are they going to try to stick together something that has failed? They need to face up to the fact that the structure just can't work.

"The people of Northern Ireland are entitled to good and stable government. As the current crisis again demonstrates, they will never get it with this present failed system. So, out with the old and in with the new."

The TUV leader claimed that the 'cash for ash' scandal showed just how incompetent Stormont was.

He said: "2016 started with all the synthetic hype of a supposed 'Fresh Start' for Stormont.

"It ends in tatters, with all the inherent greed, cronyism and self-serving arrogance well exposed."

The TUV leader hailed 2016 as "our year of liberation from the shackles of Brussels".

He added: "It was an uprising of true patriots, a bloodless revolution that will set our nation on course to be great again."

Mr Allister stated that the challenge of 2017 was to ensure there was "no backsliding on Brexit".

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