Belfast Telegraph

Double jobbing MPs Tom Elliott, Danny Kinahan, Alasdair McDonnell and Gregory Campbell to stand down from Assembly

By Rebecca Black

Four of Northern Ireland's five double jobbing MPs have indicated that they plan to stand down from the Assembly - and some plan to stand aside sooner rather than later.

The Ulster Unionist Party's two new MPs - Tom Elliott in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and Danny Kinahan in South Antrim - will step down from the Assembly "within weeks".

SDLP leader and South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell said he plans to start the process of finding his Assembly replacement. And DUP MP Gregory Campbell said he would leave the Assembly "some time in the next year".

Mr McDonnell has been an SDLP MP and MLA since he was first elected to the House of Commons in 2005. Yesterday, he told the BBC's Sunday Politics that he planned to quit Stormont to focus on his role as MP.

"We are going to set the process in train," he said, adding that this would happen "at a convenient moment". He also confirmed that he planned to remain leader of the SDLP for "as long as needed".

His decision comes a week after former party leader Mark Durkan appeared to criticise Mr McDonnell's poor Westminster attendance. The Foyle MP said double jobbing was something he had "left himself clear of", and made no defence of his colleague's continued dual mandate.

The fifth double jobbing MP is the DUP's Sammy Wilson in East Antrim. He could not be reached yesterday.

By law, none can continue to be both MLAs and MPs following next year's Assembly elections.

Yesterday the UUP confirmed that both Mr Elliott and Mr Kinahan planned to stand down from the Assembly as soon as possible.

"Ulster Unionist Party officers will meet this week to endorse the process to replace Tom and Danny," he said. The UUP will then internally hold selection meetings to find replacement MLAs "within weeks".

Mr Campbell said it was always his plan to leave the Assembly. He said this would happen "some time between now and next year".

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph