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Sinn Fein will not penalise Budget objectors

Martin McGuinness has said his party will not penalise the UUP or SDLP if they vote against the Budget or abstain.

It is understood that Sinn Fein and the DUP believe the SDLP and UUP will suffer in the upcoming Assembly elections if the parties fail to support the Budget or if their ministers resign.

Any minister who does not support the Budget could theoretically be removed from office by means of a judicial review.

However, neither Sinn Fein nor the DUP believe it is politically advantageous to launch a court action before an election.

“By nature I am not into recriminating against people,” Mr McGuinness told the Belfast Telegraph. “I am certainly not one for penalising people on issues like this,” he said.

However he was deeply critical of the smaller parties and made it clear that he would make their behaviour an issue at the hustings.

“If people step outside the |institutions or break their undertakings as Executive members then let them face the electorate on that issue,” he said.

“The electorate can decide

whether or not their position was an honest one.”

Mr McGuinness said it would be a “more immediate problem” if any UUP or SDLP minister resigned in protest at the Budget.

“Then we would have to decide how the departments would be run, the re-running of d’Hondt and giving their posts to other parties would be one possibility.

“If they resign in protest |and then their parties nominate new ministers, that would be |ludicrous. What credibility would they have left? If they want to fight the election on the issue of Budget cuts let them.”

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