Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

It's time SF did some work in the Commons

In criticising SDLP leader Margaret Ritchie at Westminster, Chris Hazzard (Write Back, July 12) displays a naive understanding of Parliament.

Margaret Ritchie has secured amendments to complex and duplicated costs of licensing laws surrounding the playing of music in small businesses and workplaces. An example of a good MP at work?

Chris Hazzard says Northern Ireland MPs have no effect on Tory policies, therefore Sinn Fein are "principled abstentionist". What rubbish.

In reality, SF's absence from the voting lobbies comforts and assists the Tories. Take the matter of student fee increases.

Tory whips counted on five SF votes not being cast. Result: students pay the price for SF "principles".

As for opposing "illegal wars", the SDLP has an honourable and consistent record, eg virtually alone against the Iraq war.

Margaret Thatcher once accused Dennis Healy of being afraid of a general election, saying he was "frit".

Is not its "principled absentionist policy" an example of "frit" SF MPs not at work?

BRIAN ROONEY

Downpatrick

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