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Voters deserved to get by-election

THE rise of Emma Pengelly from a humble Spad to Peter Robinson to junior minister, a month after she became an MLA for South Belfast by being co-opted, is further evidence that the electoral system here needs a major overhaul.

Recent reports indicate that Ms Pengelly is a barrister with vast experience. However, if one examines her career to date via Linkedin, she has not actually practised law (apart from a brief spell working in a law library).

She has not taken silk (that is she is not a Queen's Counsel), nor is she a member of any chambers, or a Fellow of Kings Inn.

She has not been involved in any significant, high-level cases; her last nine years have been spent as a Spad to the First Minister.

The electorate who voted DUP in South Belfast clearly voted for Jimmy Spratt, who has since resigned. They did not vote for Emma Pengelly.

Which raises the question: why cannot a by-election be held in South Belfast to allow the electorate to decide on the best candidate?


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