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Number of MLAs in our Assembly should only be 35

Published 08/02/2016

I gather plans are afoot to reduce the current number of MLAs in the Assembly from 108 to 90. While this is a step in the right direction, the numbers of MLAs here will still be disproportionate to the size of the Northern Ireland electorate (around 1.2m).

For example, Wales has double the electorate population and manages with 60 Assembly members, so the correct number of MLAs here should be not more than 35.

This could be achieved by reorganising constituencies on a six-county basis with a maximum of five seats per county, including Belfast, to be filled (or not, as the case may be) by some, or all, of the parties. The parties should be only allowed to field a single candidate per county.

The other issue also needing urgent attention is the thorny question of political donations in Northern Ireland. The electorate have the right to know who funds the parties, by how much.

It is, indeed, odd that Northern Ireland is the only UK region where donations remain a mystery.


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