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Making it up as they go along… January 18, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Fairly blatant stunt by the British government in relation to the temporary return of the dual mandate. But as noted yesterday, this is far from uncontentious – for example.

A row over “double jobbing”, which would mean MPs in Westminster also sitting in the Stormont assembly, has erupted in Northern Ireland with accusations the government is trying to prop up the Democratic Unionist party.

The chair of the Northern Ireland affairs committee, Simon Hoare, described the move as a bad idea and urged the House of Lords to reject the relevant amendment to proposed legislation.

And the Guardian notes that:

The proposals, to temporarily restore a practice that was banned in 2016, would allow the DUP leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, to contest the Northern Ireland assembly elections in May while remaining an MP at Westminster.

On Monday, Donaldson confirmed that he planned to stand for the local Lagan Valley seat at Stormont while remaining an MP, a move that could make him eligible to become first or deputy first minister if the DUP succeeded in becoming the biggest or second biggest party.

He was pressed on reports that a second DUP MP was also planning to stand for local election but declined to identify the individual, saying the selection process was not yet complete.

It’s pretty dismal really. A sort of gaming of democratic processes for the advantage of one party, and gamed by the British government. Difficult to disagree with the following:

The Ulster Unionist party MLA [member of the legislative assembly] Mike Nesbitt said the plan “reeks of corruption”, claiming Boris Johnson’s government was “going out of its way to prop up and support one party”.

The DUP’s response is laughable.

The DUP hit out at what it termed “fake outrage” by political opponents, saying the proposal would bring stability to Northern Ireland “at a time when devolution is deeply unstable because of a one-sided and undemocratic [Brexit] protocol”.

Even in purely practical terms this is an absurd proposal. But in democratic terms it is worse, diluting the ability of those elected to one democratic institution to function fully because they’re having to also work in another. These sort of expedient and self-serving moves only undermine democratic structures. Very very unwise.


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