Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist protester Jamie Bryson wants to be Justice Minister

By Linda Stewart

Former flag protester Jamie Bryson says he wants to be considered for the post of Justice Minister within the Northern Ireland Executive.

The North Down unionist has called on the Office for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to consider his bid for the key role in a non-MLA capacity.

He has enlisted solicitor Kevin Winters in his bid for the position, insisting a non elected representative would be "much preferable".

"I believe the primary legislation intended for such an option to be considered by OFMDFM and accordingly it is my contention that failure to consider such an option is acting ultra vires of the original legislation," Mr Bryson said.

"Of course it would be beyond ludicrous for OFMDFM to ever seriously consider me for the post of Justice Minister, but they should consider, as per the original legislation, non-elected persons who have sufficient experience and qualifications.

"Such individuals would be much preferable to an MLA placed there for political convenience."

Mr Bryson, who recently said he no longer supports the flag protests, said he was seeking to expose the politically dysfunctional nature of OFMDFM whilst challenging a fault line within the implementation of the legislative framework.

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He later tweeted that "clearly it would be ludicrous to suggest I should be justice minister. The purpose is to flush out the fault line in the legislation.

"There are many experienced and highly qualified individuals who would be better at the job than any MLA. They should be considered.

"When one considers the dysfunctional shambles that is Stormont, the ludicrous idea that I could ever be justice minister seems reasonable."

Mr Bryson recently acted as campaign manager in the Assembly elections for independent unionist Ruth Patterson, who received 475 first preferences despite considerable publicity due to her rivalry with the DUP's Emma Little Pengelly.

Ms Patterson was expelled from the DUP in November after criticising the leadership for appointing Ms Pengelly as both an MLA and junior minister within the space of a month.

She didn't appear at the count, but her campaign manager Jamie Bryson attended and said he took "full responsibility" for the unsuccessful campaign.

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