Tuesday’s sitting will be the 5th time the NI Assembly has been recalled since last year’s election. On each of the four previous occasions those who submitted the recall petition knew in advance that a Speaker would not be elected and those bringing MLAs to Stormont once again know the outcome will be the same.
When the Assembly was last recalled in December, we were told that the £600 energy support payments would not be delivered without a functioning Stormont.
We made clear then that those payments could be processed and delivered through Westminster and that fuel poverty should not be used as political leverage. The payments have been made and before the rest of the UK.
Likewise, the legislation necessary to fully enact Dáithí’s Law can be tabled and enacted at Westminster and organ donation should not be used as blackmail for the return of devolution.
Sir Jeffrey Donaldson will work with the Government and the House of Commons Speaker to table an amendment to the Executive Formation Bill in Parliament.
Parliament is sovereign and has legislated on numerous issues for Northern Ireland. We wish to not only ensure that the law is introduced but that there is no delay to the timescale originally envisaged.
Our approach was set out clearly more than 18 months ago. Warnings that devolution and the Protocol were incompatible were ignored by many of the same parties who now feign surprise that the DUP continues to be guided by our mandate.
There will be no restoration of the NI Assembly and Executive until the Protocol is replaced with arrangements that unionists, as well as nationalists, can support.