We’ve not much to go on at present, but look out tomorrow/Monday for confirmation of the DUP’s request for a six week delay on a deal. Other things to look out for are inclusion of a Northern Ireland representative on the Cabinet Office’s Intelligence and Security Committee, to keep an eye on the enhanced activities of MI5 in Northern Ireland. The one additional seat available to Westminster is likely, if confirmed, to make its way to the DUP.
Adds: From the Irish Times (subs needed) the day after St Andrews:
…it was also claimed last night that the DUP has secured Mr Blair’s agreement to nominate one of its nine MPs to Westminster’s Security and Intelligence Committee – a move they believe would leave them no longer reliant on the Independent Monitoring Commission as they seek to “test” republican promises against actions on the ground.
Further detail from that same report:
…authoritative DUP sources subsequently made clear they were equally unconcerned and pointed back to the published document. And by their account it suddenly appeared that the really significant “movement” that had occurred had been on the part of the British and Irish governments.
According to this assessment, shared with Downing Street, Sinn Féin’s endorsement of the PSNI would come two weeks before the formal nomination of Dr Paisley and Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness as First and Deputy First Ministers designate on November 24th. At that point the parties are required to confirm acceptance or rejection of the St Andrews agreement, paragraph six of which says: “We believe the essential elements of support for law and order include endorsing fully the PSNI and the criminal justice system, actively encouraging everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the PSNI in tackling crime in all areas and actively supporting all the policing and criminal justice institutions, including the Policing Board.”
The DUP regard “all the policing and criminal justice institutions” as including the British Security Service, MI5, and the Special Branch [emphasis added].
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty