Alliance Party calls for end to "ransom politics" and for May's election results to be respected

Alliance Party calls for end to "ransom politics" and for May's election results to be respected

THE ALLIANCE Party has submitted a petition calling for the Assembly to debate the impending deadline to restore the Executive in Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said Chris Heaton-Harris said yesterday that he would call an election if the executive is not restored by 00:01 on 28 October.

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long submitted the motion today, which also calls for reform to ensure no ingle party can collapse institutions again, and express concern over the compounding of the ongoing crises locally by problems being experienced by the Conservative Government in Westminster.

Mrs Long said the current saga of ransom politics had come at the worst possible time for people.

"We are in an unprecedented period of uncertainty between Parliament and the Assembly," she said.

"As things stand, next week the caretaker Ministers are removed from office and departments are left without direction at a time when Westminster is in chaos. In that context, and considering the cost-of-living and cost-of-business crisis, it is reckless and irresponsible in the extreme to allow the institutions to drift into deeper crisis, dragging in its wake our public finances and public services."

She said engaging in "ransom politics" at this time "is completely scandalous."

"Whilst the Assembly and Executive can’t solve all of those problems - some of which are national or global - it is the difference between being able to do something as opposed to nothing to help those in need.

"Neither is this the first time that such a suspension of our institutions. Over the last 25 years we have been increasingly locked into a cycle of crisis and collapse.  It is, therefore, clear as we rapidly approach next week’s deadline, we cannot simply place a sticking plaster over the gaping wounds inflicted on our institutions and hope for the best.

"The focus on a negotiated outcome on the Protocol, which is welcome, cannot be allowed to eclipse the urgency of restoring the Executive and doing so on a sustainable basis to end the cycle of dysfunction. Democracy has been repeatedly subverted by single parties – we must ensure when the institutions return, no-one is able to do that again. Ransom politics needs to end for good."