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Jim Allister in call for Stormont shake-up

By Noel McAdam

Hardline unionist Jim Allister has called for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to be dissolved.

In his official party submission to the Assembly committee |examining a future shake-up |in the system at Stormont, he |also proposes:

  • The 108 MLAs are cut by “at least” a third.
  • Government departments reduced by half.
  • An overhaul of the law to allow for an Opposition.

And he added: “The Office of the joint First Ministers should be dissolved as it has proven to be a dysfunctional disaster.”

The Belfast Telegraph last week revealed only two parties — Ulster Unionists and Alliance — have sent formal responses to the Assembly Executive and Review committee which is considering a cut in the number of MLAs and Government departments.

But Mr Allister insists his Traditional Unionist Voice also met the deadline of last Friday, even though the committee had failed to contact him. In a letter shown to this newspaper, he told the committee chairman, the DUP’s Stephen Moutray: “The present arrangements, centred on mandatory coalition, have abjectly failed and are incapable of ever producing good government.

“The number of Government departments should be radically reduced to in or around six and the number of MLAs should be cut by at least a third” — that would mean a maximum of 72.

In his letter to the parties, Mr Moutray said they were originally notified as far back as October 24 that they needed to send their detailed proposals for a proposed new Northern Ireland Bill.

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