Ministerial negotiations rumble on…

Noel MacAdam reports on the latest detail up for grabs: the appointment of Ministers. Despite the DUP’s insistence that it will decide when devolution of policing and justice powers will take place, all the main parties are haggling over what shape they should take when they devolve, and how they should be chosen:

Both the DUP and UUP favour a single minister for the new Justice Department, while Sinn Fein suggests a ‘job-share’ – two ministers sharing equal status.

It is a proposal similar to the co-equal nature of the First and Deputy First Ministers office, which could see a joint DUP and Sinn Fein ministry, such as Policing Board member Ian Paisley jnr and Sinn Fein policing spokesman Gerry Kelly.

There is no agreement, however, on how a minister should be appointed, with Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the UUP supporting the d’Hondt system, while the DUP is in favour of the election of a minister by a 70% weighted majority of the Assembly.