Belfast Telegraph

Mallon slams secrecy over DUP-Tory No.10 meetings

By Suzanne Breen

SDLP deputy leader Nichola Mallon has called on the Government to immediately publish the full details of its secret meetings with the DUP.

Ms Mallon said it wasn't "good enough" that the Government had published only two short notes on two meetings of the co-ordination committee.

Calling for the veil of secrecy over the meetings to be lifted, the North Belfast MLA said: "The DUP and British Government are having their own set of secret meetings through what they have termed the 'co-ordination committee' to deal with their confidence and supply deal.

"All they have been willing to share is two short notes of two meetings of this committee, which are deliberately empty of any detail.

"We have no other information as to what is going on behind closed doors.

"It's not good enough."

Ms Mallon said the DUP continued to assert that it had secured £1 billion for Northern Ireland yet "this mystery money made no appearance in the budgetary outlook published for next year".

She added: "Public services are on their knees, patients are waiting longer for treatment at hospitals, road standards are deteriorating and more cuts are to face key sectors.

"The DUP and Sinn Fein have already missed the head of the Civil Service's deadline to deal with budget pressures.

"So where is the money?

"What exactly is happening at these meetings and how regularly is the British Government engaging in these cosy secret meetings with the DUP?"

Ms Mallon insisted it was time for the Government to "come clean".

She said: "Instead of paying lip service about their commitment to the North and to power-sharing, they need to take responsibility for the fact that this toxic relationship is playing a big part in destabilising progress here.

"Politics is already seen as self-serving and toxic without these multiple layers of secrecy. 

"The public deserve to know exactly what's going on behind the doors of No.10.

"The SDLP won't let it go unchallenged."

Belfast Telegraph

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