Belfast Telegraph

Jamie Bryson to appear before Northern Ireland Affairs Committee

By Jonathan Bell

The loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson is to appear before the Northern Ireland Affairs committee.

Mr Bryson has been listed as a witness to appear on Wednesday, February 21, for the session entitled 'Devolution and democracy in Northern Ireland – dealing with the deficit'.

It has been working to gather a wide range of opinion from people of differing backgrounds across Northern Ireland.

Also appearing next week are Paul Braithwaite, programme leader, Building Change Trust; Derek McCallan, chief executive, Northern Ireland Local Government Association, Ruth Taillon, director, Centre for Cross-Border Studies, Naomi Long MLA, leader of the Alliance Party, Colum Eastwood MLA, leader of the SDLP and independent unionist MLA and former justice minister Claire Sugden.

Mr Bryson is listed as appearing as a representative of  the group Unionist Voice Policy Studies. It made a submission to the committee on the state of devolution. It has argued for the repeal of the 1998 Northern Ireland Act - which established power sharing after the Good Friday Agreement - and called for direct rule to allow for a renegotiation for a new system of government.

Unionist Voice Policy Studies describes itself as a "grassroots unionist/loyalist think tank" which explores ways unionism can move forward.

Mr Bryson rose to prominence during the 2012 loyalist flag protests after Belfast City Council voted to flag the Union flag on designated days throughout the year.

DUP MPs Gregory Campbell, Ian Paisley and Jim Shannon sit on the 13-member committee alongside independent Lady Sylvia Hermon.

Asked for comment, Mr Bryson would only say he was "pleased" with the invitation to the Westminster committee.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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