| 14.3°C Belfast

DUP continuing boycott of Stormont is ‘immoral and outrageously cruel’, claims SDLP’s O’Toole ahead of recall


Stormont is being recalled on Wednesday after a petition by the SDLP

Stormont is being recalled on Wednesday after a petition by the SDLP

Stormont is being recalled on Wednesday after a petition by the SDLP

The DUP has been asked to “explain themselves” to the public dealing with the cost-of-living crisis and return to Stormont, ahead of a recall of the Assembly on Wednesday.

SDLP opposition leader Matthew O’Toole said the passage of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill through the House of Commons means the unionist party continuing their boycott of the institutions is “unethical, immoral and outrageously cruel”.

“The challenge that the SDLP opposition will make to the DUP tomorrow is simple – get back to work or explain yourselves to the thousands of families who have been held to ransom for the last 90 days,” he added.

“Since the Assembly last met, the crisis facing families and households across Northern Ireland has deepened.

“Energy prices are spiralling, fuel costs are prohibitively high and thousands are now facing the additional burden of back to school costs with no additional support from the people they elected three months ago on a promise to help.

“The excuses about the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill have evaporated now that the legislation has passed its Commons stages.”

The Assembly will meet in a third bid to nominate a speaker after more than 30 MLAs signed an SDLP recall petition.

Politics Unplugged

Sign up to Suzanne Breen's Politics Unplugged newsletter for expert analysis of what's important at Stormont.

This field is required

However, the DUP has continued to make it clear they will continue to block the election of a speaker due to their opposition of the protocol, meaning that the institutions will not be restored.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson previously said his party would review the progress of the protocol Bill through the Lords.

Ulster Unionist Party MLA Mike Nesbitt also said politicians would have been better off meeting privately to resolve their differences rather than staging another failed attempt to elect an Assembly speaker.

Without a speaker, no further Assembly business can be done, including the nomination of new First and deputy First Ministers.

“It’s not going to go anywhere. Everybody knows it’s not going to go anywhere. So we question the point of doing this,” Mr Nesbitt said.

“I think what would be better than a show, a public show in that chamber, is party leaders getting together quietly, privately, and trying to resolve the differences.

“We have challenges. We don’t have crises at the moment. Let’s deal with the challenges.”

The recalled sitting of the Assembly was originally due to take place last week but was postponed following the death of Lord Trimble, one of the key architects of the 1998 Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

The Stormont institutions have been in flux since February when the DUP withdrew its first minister from the devolved executive, calling for the UK Government to act on the post-Brexit protocol.

The DUP has been contacted for a response.

Top Videos