DUP ‘should not go to power’ if Sinn Féin takes first minister seat, claims Jim Wells

DUP legislator Jim Wells has said that his party “should not go to power” if Sinn Féin becomes the largest party and takes the seat of First Minister.

R Wells told The Nolan Show that this was his “personal opinion”, but claimed it was “held by many others in the party at senior levels as well”.

He revealed that the party is at an “early stage of policy development” on the issue and added that a “difficult decision” is to be taken by the DUP on the issue.

All the main federalist parties had previously declined to confirm whether they would go into an executive if Sinn Féin became the largest party.

Northern Ireland’s next assembly election is due in May next year, and recent opinion polls have indicated Sinn Féin could emerge as the single largest party.

This would mean that it would be entitled to nominate for the first time the post of First Minister, with the role of Deputy First Minister being held by the largest federalist party.

First and Deputy First Ministers have equal rights in both the posts and cannot hold one without the other.

Mr Wells claimed that holding both the Sinn Féin First Ministerial position and possibly the position of Taoiseach in the Republic of Ireland would be a source of “enormous political renown”.

“we [DUP] We have not made up our mind on our issue, we will eventually make it known,” Mr Wells said.

“I personally would have a very difficult time with the Sinn Féin First Minister, especially if Sinn Féin also became prime minister in the republic. This would create great difficulties for federalism.

“Whether we like it or not, it will be on the minds of a lot of people when they come to vote in May.

“We are only in the early stages of policy development, these are all arguments that have to be taken into account before the final and a very difficult decision indeed.

“If I have the vote in the process, I would say that I believe we should not go in and help Sinn Féin campaign.

“Obviously, we have to clarify this before the elections take place. The manifesto has not been published, we are just starting the election campaign.

“If it is not important and the positions are the same then why is Sinn Féin bursting blood vessels to become the first minister?

“They know the enormous political renown that will happen if you are prime minister in the Irish Republic and first minister in Northern Ireland.”

In response to Mr Wells, Alliance Party assembly candidate Sorcha Eastwood said she “cannot believe” what she heard from the South Downs legislator.

“I know people all over Northern Ireland will be listening to the show this morning and going: ‘This is not what we want for this place, this is not what we want for our future,'” she said. said.

“Put people first, that’s all, we will go to government with anyone. Anything less than that is unacceptable.”

TUV leader Jim Allister said that all main unionist parties in Northern Ireland “should not take any position unless there is repatriation for the first minister to come from the largest community”.

“The polls clearly show that the next assembly will have more federalists than nationalists and therefore allowing Sinn Féin to minister first would be undemocratic,” Mr Allister said.

“I reiterate my resolution of the pre-election All-Federalist Pledge that if faced with such a possibility, no federalist will take any post unless the first minister coming from the largest community is returned. This was the original position under the Belfast Agreement.

“The Sinn Féin First Minister’s symbolism is considered important to many, even those who support the absurd Stormont system.”

Both the DUP and Sinn Féin have been contacted in response to this story.