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Robinson reveals reshuffle plans

Published 22/05/2009

First Minister Peter Robinson has announced plans for a radical reshuffle of his ministerial team to counter criticism of ‘double-jobbing’.

Speaking at an event in Bangor last night, Mr Robinson said the current arrangement whereby politicians can hold positions as MPs in Westminster and ministers at Stormont had been “a necessary step” to allow the new political institutions in Northern Ireland to “bed down securely”.

“I believe that solid foundations have been laid and we have reached the period when the baton can pass to the next cohort,” he said.

“Therefore it is my intention to announce changes to our Executive and Assembly team before the summer recess so that no more than one of my seven Parliamentary colleagues who presently hold either a ministerial position or committee chairmanship will continue to do so.

“This is a necessary prelude to the ending of double jobbing.”

Mr Robinson, who is himself an MP and an Executive minister, said it was “simply not possible” to perform multiple roles.

“While at least for a time serving in more than one elected body could be justified on the basis of political stability, no such justification exists for those who seek to pursue interests outside of the House of Commons which are unrelated to the work of an elected representative,” he said.

“It would clearly be the height of hypocrisy to have one rule for one and not the other.”

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