As we expected here on the Letter, most of the institutions will be preserved, but stood down until there is wide enough support for them to be started again. The exception to this is the Policing Board. John Reid has invited it’s current members to reapply for membership, most are expected to accept. Indications are that the North/South Ministerial Council will not continue.
Two new NIO junior ministers have been announced, Ian Pearson MP (Dudley South) and Angela Smith MP (Basildon). It is likely that Pearson, former Joint CEO of the West Midlands Economic Development Agency, will take the DETI post. Present junior minister Jane Kennedy will probably take DHSSPS, and either Des Browne, the present parliamentary under-secretary, or Smith will run Martin McGuinness’ current post at the Department of Education.
Some commentators have suggested that the suspension may actually allow for a period of effective ‘joined up’ government, when the govenment will be run by single party representatives, without the competing interests of the multiple party cabinet composed under the d’Hondt mechanism of choosing ministers. However it is not expected that these shadow ministers will either initiate or take forward any major legislation such as Education reform in advance of the return of the local ministers.
Thanks again to Ian at Stormont Strategy, for a view of the inside track.