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DUP's Robin Newton new deputy speaker at Northern Ireland Stormont Assembly

DUP and Sinn Fein accused of 'carve-up'

The DUP and Sinn Fein have been accused of a new 'carve-up' of top positions at Stormont.

The combined strengths of the two main parties forced through the DUP’s Robin Newton as deputy principal speaker on Tuesday.

The Ulster Unionists, SDLP, Alliance and other MLAs voted against the appointment. They castigated the retention of the position of ‘prinicpal’ deputy speaker which they described as a ‘vanity post’ and ‘non-position’.

The row came just a week after the DUP finally supported Sinn Fein’s Mitchel McLaughlin to replace William Hay as Speaker - the first republican to do so.

The other deputy speakers will be John Dallat of the SDLP and Roy Beggs of the UUP, an assembly spokeswoman confirmed.

Mr Newton was first elected to the assembly in 2003, representing East Belfast. He has been re-elected twice.

He served as a junior minister in the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) from 2009 to 2011.

Further reading

New speaker is 'hugely symbolic'

First republican speaker Mitchel McLaughlin elected with DUP backing 

Ex-Speaker Willie Hay takes seat in House of Lords

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