Belfast Telegraph

Long brands Assembly recall ‘a charade’

Mark Edwards

By Mark Edwards

Alliance leader Naomi Long branded today's recall of the Assembly a "cynical political stunt" as she confirmed the party will not attend.

A petition signed by 31 MLAs to discuss a motion on abortion led to Stormont's first sitting in almost three years. A ministerial Executive will only be formed once the DUP and Sinn Fein agree to re-enter a coalition.

Explaining Alliance's absence today, Mrs Long said: "It is a cynical political stunt, which has no prospect of leading to the formation of an Executive, but it will increase acrimony between parties and bring the chamber further into disrepute, making an actual restoration more difficult. The intention of this recall is not to block abortion law and equal marriage, but to create the illusion the DUP are trying to do so."

Mrs Long labelled the recall a "charade", and said it is not appropriate to treat "a serious issue with profound consequences" in such a "cynical manner".

Responding to Mrs Long's comments, DUP Assembly chief whip Gordon Lyons said: "On October 13 Alliance MLAs joined others outside Stormont holding placards to protest about the continued absence of devolution.

"The same MLAs will refuse to walk into the chamber and debate legislation impacting upon unborn children that has been imposed on Northern Ireland."

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