Devolution: the next phase

Brian Walker sets the scene for the next phase of the ‘devolution game’.

“On policing, Sinn Fein spelled out long ago that they want the Secretary of State written out of decision taking virtually altogether apart from a residual role, to be shared with the Irish in the Intergovernmental Council. And indeed, the legislation gives them the prospect of achieving it, if local agreement can be reached.”

“Is this what Tony Blair has pledged to deliver? We await hints and specifics on those acts of completion for the Queen’s Speech announcing the Government’s programme for the new session of Parliament in a few weeks’ time. The story of concessions to Sinn Fein has yet to be fully played out.”

“The insistent question remains: what will they offer in return? A whole new devolution game is about to begin.”