The DUP’s Gregory Campbell has said that “a stable foundation for devolution was more important than a ‘threat’ to Assembly salaries”, following continued threats from the Northern Ireland Secretary to cut MLAs’ pay.
“Less than two months ago DUP MLAs received a clear mandate that the problems created by the Northern Ireland Protocol must be resolved,” said the East Londonderry MP.
"That position has very strong support across the unionist community, and the Secretary of State himself recognises the damage being caused by the Protocol.
“A stable foundation for devolution is a long-term necessity and is more important than any ‘threat’ to Assembly salaries.
"It will be for the Secretary of State to lay out a consistent approach as action against MLAs (unable to carry out their full functions because of the Protocol) would need to be accompanied by similar action against those MPs who fail to turn up for work in the House of Commons and have received £2million over recent years from the same public purse.”
Mr Campbell’s comments come following a reiteration from Brandon Lewis that he will introduce legislation to cut MLA pay "fairly soon" if Stormont is not restored.
When the powersharing Northern Ireland executive collapsed previously in January 2017 after Sinn Fein walked out over a botched green energy scheme, Westminster moved to cut MLA pay.
In September 2018, the UK Government announced that MLAs' salaries would be reduced by 27.5%, taking the standard salary rate of £49,500 down to £35,888 in two stages, beginning in November with a further cut three months later.
Speaking on the BBC programme Sunday Politics, Mr Lewis said: "Last time round, this was about 18 months into the Stormont collapsing before we dealt with MLA pay.
"I have absolutely heard what people have been saying about MLA pay, I do think we need to deal with it, we can't wait that long.
"I do require legislation to deal with that, but, yes, if Stormont is not back up and running soon, I think that is something we need to deal with and I will be looking to bring legislation in to deal with MLA pay, absolutely."
Assembly members are still currently receiving their full pay, now over a month since the NI Secretary first made the threat to cut salaries.