Belfast Telegraph

DUP 'weakening double-jobbing laws'

The DUP has been accused of weakening draft laws to end double-jobbing between the Assembly and local councils.

Delaying legislation until 2014 or preventing it from taking effect until the Assembly reduces the number of district authorities to 11 are among measures advocated by the DUP.

Independent unionist Assembly member Dawn Purvis has been trying to pilot the Local Government (Disqualification) Bill through the Assembly and it is due to be considered on Tuesday.

"This is a good piece of legislation, definitive and permanent which brings an end to a practice which is wrong - importantly it ends the concentration of power in too few hands," she said.

"The amendments proposed by the DUP are a cynical move to try and scupper the bill which leads me to believe they must be in favour of the practice, calling into question their previous soundbites on ending this unpopular practice."

DUP MLA Peter Weir said the purpose of the amendments was to ensure transition to a new system takes place in a smooth and orderly fashion in accordance with any reduction in the number of councils.

"That may not be to publicity-hungry Dawn Purvis' satisfaction, but it is in accordance with stated DUP party policy. The DUP is the one party which has been phasing out dual mandates," he said.

"I look forward to Ms Purvis coming on board with the DUP efficiency plan to reduce the number of MLAs and departments where real savings can be made."

Over the summer many of the party's MPs including William McCrea and Jeffrey Donaldson resigned their assembly posts.

Gregory Campbell, DUP MP for East Londonderry, is expected to follow suit, though no date has been given.

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