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Westminster needs to tackle important Northern Ireland issues, says Swann

Robin Swann

Decisions on Northern Ireland need to be made quickly at Westminster, the Ulster Unionists have said.

Leader Robin Swann met Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley yesterday.

He said major issues under negotiation between the Stormont parties had yet to be dealt with.

"The people of Northern Ireland need governance and if it has to come from Westminster, it comes from Westminster," he said.

A fresh bid to break the two-and-a-half-year-long deadlock at Stormont was launched following the shooting dead of journalist Lyra McKee in Londonderry earlier this year.

Mr Swann said: "There are small steps being made at this moment in time."

He added: "The difficult issues are still there to be broached but what is very clear from my party's point of view is there are issues that need to be taken now and those issues, if they are being taken in Westminster, should be taken in Westminster."

While same-sex marriage and abortion have been the subject of amendments to legislation in Westminster, the UUP is keen to see progress on protecting public services in Northern Ireland.

Mr Swann said: "We are seeing a lack of decisions being made by Northern Ireland ministers and it is beginning to have an adverse impact actually on our health service and our education service. If Northern Ireland ministers are not in place to do it, we need Westminster to make those decisions."

Last week, MPs voted to change Northern Ireland's abortion law and introduce same-sex marriage if devolution is not restored at Stormont by October 21. Terminations are available in very restricted circumstances in Northern Ireland and same-sex marriage is illegal.

Amendments intended to change the law were tabled by Labour MPs Conor McGinn and Stella Creasy.

Belfast Telegraph