Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Unionists attack the number of private motions

Just over four-fifths of Assembly business is based on private members motions, the Ulster Unionist Party has claimed.

As it celebrated the first electoral endorsement of its new links with the Conservatives, leader Sir Reg Empey said party research had shown 81% of Assembly business arises from individual MLAs rather than the Executive.

“What other legislature in the world can you imagine working in that way? It is quite shocking and shows that Stormont is just not performing in the way it was meant to,” the Employment and Learning Minister said. “Individual MLAs rather than the parties or Executive are filling up most Assembly time It is no wonder people say the Assembly is not achieving anything.”

With the next Executive meeting due tomorrow, however, a spurt of legislation is expected to make its way through the Assembly and committee stages in the run-up to the summer recess which begins in the first week in July.

Meanwhile, an initial analysis of the European election results, which saw Conservative and Unionist standard-bearer Jim Nicholson come in second, ahead of the DUP, is said to show the UUP marginally in front of the DUP in a majority of ward electoral areas.

“For so long we have heard the arrogance of the DUP. Well, they are no longer the party that speaks for unionism,” Sir Reg argued. “All seats in Northern Ireland are open now. The European election has blown the Westminster election wide open. Basically it’s open season.”

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