NI condemns plan to make temporary withdrawal of ‘double jobbing’ for politicians


The government’s plan to temporarily reinstate double-jobbing for Northern Irish politicians has sparked fierce opposition from some political parties.

The UK government has come under fire for plans to allow MPs to retain their seats in Westminster while being elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The return of the “dual mandate”, or double-jobbing, would allow DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to contest the upcoming assembly election, while also remaining as MP for the Lagan Valley in Westminster.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill on Saturday accused the UK government of interfering in the assembly election, while Ulster Unionist Party leader Doug Beatty accused the Northern Ireland office of effectively supporting the DUP election campaign.

The move is detailed in a letter from Lord Kane, the junior minister in the Northern Ireland Office, to members of the House of Lords.

It will only see the dual mandate back until the next UK general election in 2024.

The current law banning politicians from doing dual duties as MLAs and MPs came into force in 2016.

The letter, seen by the PA news agency, said the rule-change is intended to avoid triggering by-elections in Northern Ireland.

In the letter, Lord Cain said: “There is no appetite or consensus in Northern Ireland to continue the dual mandate indefinitely or to return to a situation in which the overwhelming majority of Northern Ireland MPs were also members of the Assembly.”

He told peers that the UK government “aims” to support the functioning of the Assembly by providing stability in instances where parties in Northern Ireland need to reconfigure their representation in Parliament and Stormont, without triggering parliamentary by-elections. is required. ,

The UK government, Lord Cain said, plans to introduce an amendment to replace the law on dual mandates in the coming weeks.

It is part of measures that have already passed through the House of Commons, designed to strengthen power-sharing in Northern Ireland following the return of the executive in early 2020.

However, plans to restore the dual mandate have already proved controversial and have been criticized by some parties in Northern Ireland.