| 4.2°C Belfast

Editor's Viewpoint

Brandon Lewis may raise a few eyebrows



Brandon Lewis (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Brandon Lewis (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)


Brandon Lewis (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

A complete lack of irony, or even feeling of shame, is almost a prerequisite for a career in politics as we have repeatedly seen in Northern Ireland politics. But local politicians are not unique in that respect.

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis in his candid interview in this newspaper exhibits some of those traits.

He certainly will have made few friends among the parties here with his view that their decision making, on occasion, has been too dilatory.

He pointed out the three and a half days that it took for politicians to come to a compromise deal in December on how to act on the Covid pandemic.

He could easily have pointed out the current U-turns in education over school closures and examinations.

Surely he cannot be unaware of the similar behaviour of the government at Westminster of which he is a member and which has done as many, if not more, U-turns on combating Covid as any of the devolved administrations.

And he can hardly have forgotten that the High Court in Belfast in December ordered him to pay Geraldine Finucane £7,500 for excessive delay in deciding not to hold a public inquiry into the murder of her lawyer husband, Pat.

Nevertheless he was right to point up the lack of urgency in some decisions taken by the NI Assembly.

But he is also correct to point out that the fact the Executive continues to function is a plus and that a five party coalition containing politicians of polarised policy and constitutional views makes reaching consensus difficult.

Strangely Mr Lewis seems in denial about the sea border and the initial negative effects it is having on trading from GB to the province.

If he had read this newspaper in recent days he would have seen a comprehensive list of companies which have stopped or delayed taking orders from Northern Ireland customers until trading protocols are properly fixed.

The fact is that there is a border down the Irish Sea no matter how hard he tries to deny it. It's just that you won't find it on any map but it is as effective as one drawn on land.

Mr Lewis also had a pop at DUP MP Sammy Wilson for insisting on going to the Houses of Parliament in spite of pleas by the Speaker for MPs to stay away during a recent vote.

But then Mr Wilson appears to relish being a contrarian and won't be concerned how the Secretary of State views him.

But it will be interesting to hear what others think of Mr Lewis.

Belfast Telegraph