Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 31 January 2015

SDLP may nominate Margaret Ritchie for justice post

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie
PICTURE COURTESY OF DSD PRESS OFFICE10/8/07: Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie making her statement on the future of the Conflict Transformation Initiative (CTI) at Parliamant Buildings, Stormont where she challenged the UDA to begin decommissioning its weapons or funding provided to the CTI will cease.

Speculation is mounting that the SDLP will nominate Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie for the position of Justice Minister.

While the party is refusing to confirm its candidate at this stage, it has been suggested that Ms Ritchie — who is also a candidate to become SDLP leader — would be the party's choice.

Sinn Fein reacted by saying it would support Ms Ritchie.

The successful candidate will be elected by cross-community support in the Assembly.

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have given the parties until this Friday to put someone forward for the role.

The UUP has vowed to snub the nominations timetable.

Sinn Fein and the DUP are at loggerheads over when policing and justice powers should be transferred to Stormont. Given the stand-off between them, there is uncertainty over when a new minister would take up office.

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