Belfast Telegraph

DUP are not a barrier to Stormont: Dodds

The DUP "stands ready" to get back into Stormont without any preconditions or red lines to tackle the issues which matter to the people of Northern Ireland, the party's Westminster leader has said.

Speaking in the Commons, Nigel Dodds argued: "There is a refusal on the part of Sinn Fein in particular to actually take hard decisions, to work within the parameters of a devolved legislature which actually has to set budgets and work within the block grant and that was part of the problem, one of the reasons that we're now in this situation." Earlier this week Secretary of State Karen Bradley said she will not impose a framework deal or a timetable on Stormont's deadlocked parties to resume negotiations.

Mr Dodds added: "We stand ready in this party to get back into the government immediately without any preconditions, without any red lines, to tackle the issues which matter to the people of Northern Ireland.

"And in any survey and in any poll that's done right across both communities, the issues that matter to people are the issues that matter to people everywhere: health spending, education, infrastructure, housing, the environment.

"These are the things that people care about and they want their politicians to be delivering on them and dealing with them and so do we.

"That is why we are mystified and why most people in Northern Ireland are bewildered at the fact that Sinn Fein put very narrow partisan political issues above dealing with these issues." Intervening, North Down independent MP Lady Hermon asked: "So what exactly is holding up the DUP in getting back into talks with Sinn Fein and seeing successfully the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland for the benefit of everybody?"

Mr Dodds replied: "The fact of the matter is that we are no barrier to devolution... and perhaps more pressure exerted on those who are the barrier would actually be more productive and sensible."

His comments came as MPs debated the Northern Ireland Budget (Anticipation and Adjustments) Bill.

Belfast Telegraph

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