Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson to face Stormont watchdog

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson is to face the Stormont watchdog that passed a vote calling for his resignation, it emerged today.

Despite its loss of confidence, the environment scrutiny committee has agreed to meet Mr Wilson next week “on a range of issues”.

And the group is also launching a formal inquiry into climate change, to which the Minister will be invited to give evidence.

Mr Wilson, who has not responded to or acknowledged the multi-party committee’s vote of no confidence following his controversial decision to block a government television advert on climate change, was not available when contacted for comment today.

But a spokesman for his Department said the Minister had arranged to attend the |committee following last week’s vote — the first time a Stormont monitoring committee has voted no confidence in it’s Minister.

Committee chairman Patsy McGlone said: “The fact is we need to hear from the Minister on a whole range of issues, apart from how he is handling climate change, including the whole reform of local government, which is also his responsibility.

“It is not so much that the Minister has treated the committee’s vote with contempt, it is the fact that he has treated the consensus of international scientific opinion on climate change with contempt.”

Mr McGlone, whose SDLP colleague Tommy Gallagher initiated the ‘no confidence’ move which was backed by six votes to four with support from Ulster Unionists and Sinn Fein, said the committee also intended next month to hold an official investigation into climate change, to which experts would be summoned.

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