Belfast Telegraph

'Hint of progress' in latest push to restore Stormont power-sharing, claims peer

Lord Duncan of Springbank
Lord Duncan of Springbank

By Nick Lester

A Northern Ireland minister has said there is "a hint of progress" in talks to restore power-sharing at Stormont.

The glimmer of hope to resolving the long-standing deadlock and resurrecting the institutions was offered by Lord Duncan of Springbank, in a debate on devolution at Westminster.

Stormont collapsed more than two years ago following a breakdown in relations between the DUP and Sinn Fein. The latest bid to revive the power-sharing government follows the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.

Lord Duncan told peers: "That's the part where devolution isn't working as it should. We see the consequence of a failure of devolution day after day."

He added: "I will not comment too far upon the talks, which are ongoing, but there is a hint of progress.

"There is a belief now that we are perhaps on the track of reaching that elusive resolution to bring the Assembly and the Executive into being once again."

Earlier in the House of Lords debate, Labour former Northern Ireland secretary Lord Hain lambasted the failure to tackle the "real crisis", which he blamed on "a serious leadership vacuum".

He said: "We have a palpable lack of leadership, not just among the political parties in Northern Ireland, particularly the DUP and Sinn Fein, but in Number 10 on the part of the Prime Minister.

"She does not really grip Northern Ireland in the way that other prime ministers have done, including Tony Blair and John Major.

"She does not give it priority. It is no excuse to say that Brexit overwhelms her as it is overwhelming our whole government system."

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