Belfast Telegraph

Bradley 'open' to independent chair in power-sharing talks

Secretary of State Karen Bradley
Secretary of State Karen Bradley

Karen Bradley has suggested she is open to appointing an independent person to chair talks designed to restore power-sharing in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Secretary said she has proposed a "short, focused set of five-party talks" aimed at restoring devolution and the other institutions at the "earliest opportunity".

Responding to Labour MP Paul Sweeney in the House of Commons, who asked if she would appoint an independent chair to lead talks, Ms Bradley insisted she "is open to all options as to how to achieve that".

SNP Northern Ireland spokesman Gavin Newlands had questioned if the lack of Brexit developments meant the all-party talks would not happen until after the May 23 European Parliament elections, noting this "brings us into the heart of marching season".

Ms Bradley said Mr Newlands had referred to a "number of issues that may be making it more difficult for parties to find an accommodation to enable them to restore devolution", adding backing Theresa May's Brexit deal would help.

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