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Devolved ministers escape cull

There will be no cull of the ministers responsible for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, Westminster has said.

A powerful committee of MPs had called for a reduction in the number of Parliamentarians responsible for the devolved administrations but it was overturned by the Government which stated that the Secretaries of State and Ministers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland still do an important job.

It said: "There are currently no plans to change the roles of the three territorial Secretaries of State."

The Government's response was met with disappointment by the committee which revealed that Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson receives an extra £79,754 for his role, on top of the basic MP's salary of £65,738.

During its investigation, the select committee had considered the role of the Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh Secretaries as essentially "liaison and troubleshooting", a view shared by Belfast North DUP MP Nigel Dodds who said that the role of the Northern Ireland Secretary had "very much diminished" in recent years.

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