Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Northern Ireland MPs vow to resist cuts by new Cameron Government

Prime  Minister David Cameron (left) with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on the steps of 10 Downing Street in central London
Prime Minister David Cameron (left) with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on the steps of 10 Downing Street in central London
Prime Minister David Cameron greets Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the door of No. 10 Downing Street on May 12, 2010.
Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on May 10, 2010 in London, England
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street after an audience with The Queen at which she invited him to form a new government
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, wave on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street after an audience with The Queen
New Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha meet Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell in the Cabinet Room of 10 Downing Street, London, after an audience with The Queen at which she invited him to form a new government
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street after an audience with The Queen
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Buckingham Palace after receiving an invitation from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to form a new government
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, stand in Downing Street after an audience with The Queen at which she invited him to form a new government
The official Buckingham Palace document released by the press office, announcing Queen Elizabeth II's request for David Cameron to form a new administration
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, wave on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street
Britain's new Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street
Staff listen to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown making a statement as he leaves Downing Street on May 11, 2010 in London, England
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets David Cameron at Buckingham Palace in an audience to invite him to be the next Prime Minister
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets David Cameron at Buckingham Palace in an audience to invite him to be the next Prime Minister
The new Prime Minister David Cameron leaves Buckingham Palace on May 11, 2010 in London, England
Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha Cameron stand on the steps of Downing Street
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, his wife Sarah and their sons James Fraser and John leave Downing Street on May 11, 2010 in London, England. After five days of negotiation a Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government has been confirmed
Prime Minister Gordon Brown gives a statement outside 10 Downing Street
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced his resignation
Prime Minister Gordon Brown speaks about the current state of Government and announces that he will step down as Labour leader, outside number 10 Downing Street on May 10, 2010 in London
Possible candidates to replace Gordon Brown as leader of the Labour Party (1st row, left - right) Harriet Harman, Alan Johnson, David Miliband (2nd row, left - right) Ed Balls, Jack Straw and Ed Miliband. David Miliband emerged as early favourite to take over from Gordon Brown as the next Labour leader, according to bookmakers. The Foreign Secretary is the front-runner in the Labour leadership contest with the bookmakers Paddy Power, William Hill and Ladbrokes.
Television crews conduct interviews with politicians and journalists into the night adjacent to the Houses of Parliament on May 10, 2010
Gordon Brown jokes with David Miliband - the man who could now replace him as Labour leader
Foreign Secretary David Miliband leaves Downing Street on May 10, 2010 in London, England.
William Hague, the Conservative Shadow Foreign Secretary, addresses media outside the Houses of Parliament on May 10, 2010
Electoral reform protesters demonstrate outside the Workers Foundation in Westminster on May 10, 2010 in London, England
An electoral reform protester wears a mask depecting David Cameron as they gather outside the Workers Foundation in Westminster on May 10, 2010 in London, England
An electoral reform protester wears a mask depecting David Cameron as they gather outside the Workers Foundation in Westminster on May 10, 2010 in London, England
Conservative Party education spokeman Michael Gove gestures to a colleague at Parliament on May 10, 2010 in London, England
Conservative Party education spokeman Michael Gove (L) talks with former Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik at Parliament on May 10
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on May 10, 2010 in London, England
Peter Hain, the Welsh secretary, leaves Downing Street following a cabinet meeting on May 10, 2010
Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London on May 10, 2010 in London

Northern Ireland’s MPs have pledged to resist any attempt by the new Tory-Liberal Democrat Government to slash public spending levels in the province.

As David Cameron moved into Downing Street, politicians here were focusing on presenting a united front in defence of the Assembly's block grant funding from the Treasury.

That position will bring together all 13 Northern Ireland MPs who take their seats in the Commons.

Sinn Fein is meanwhile pressing for a “common approach”, even though its five MPs boycott Parliament.

David Cameron sparked fears of a cutbacks agenda during the election campaign, when he singled out Northern Ireland as a region where the state is “too big”.

He strongly denied claims that the province would be targeted, saying he wanted to rebalance the economy over a long-term period. His supporters also stated that spending cutbacks across the UK were inevitable, whoever won the General Election.

In a statement last night, Sinn Fein deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said some local MPs had been “trying to exaggerate their influence” in the hung Parliament situation.

He also said: “Developing a common approach to secure the best block grant possible and to resist cuts to public services will be a priority issue in the days ahead. Indeed it is my view that the Executive should discuss this matter urgently.”

Mr McGuinness added: “We need to be ready and united to stand up to a Tory/Lib Dem coalition who will want to press through cuts to frontline services.”

DUP MP and Stormont Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said: “Whilst Northern Ireland has specific needs after suffering for so long from terrorism, and unique circumstances with a land frontier bordering the Republic of Ireland, the DUP has always said we would work with any of the main parties to secure a good deal for Northern Ireland and in the overall national interest. DUP MPs will continue to highlight the needs of Northern Ireland with the newly formed Government.

“We will be stressing our opposition to some proposals which emerged for quick and deep cuts to our public services which would damage our chances for economic recovery.”

SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie vowed to fight “Tory cuts” and said she would be seeking a meeting with the new Prime Minister and incoming Secretary of State for Northern Ireland as soon as possible.

“We have a responsibility to the people who elected us to ensure that we continue to challenge the British Government to get the best deal for all the people of Northern Ireland,” she said.

“All parties have a duty to maximise the regional interest here in Northern Ireland, such as protecting the block grant and our public services — especially in terms of the cuts David Cameron seemed to be talking about during the election campaign.”

New Alliance MP Naomi Long said: “We need stable Government if we are to deal with the economic crisis facing the UK and create the conditions where Northern Ireland can grow its private sector and maintain high quality public services.

“We want to see a united group of Northern Ireland MPs working together to safeguard the block grant, prevent unfair cuts and see that priority issues are addressed.”

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