There’s a lot of detail still to come out from yesterday’s extraordinary events. Not least, there are serious questions surrounding the personal conduct of a very senior civil servant in Parliament Buildings just before the Minister for Social Development made her statement to the Assembly. Slugger understands her party is looking for something like full disclosure of all the events surrounding this matter in what is likely to be a very tense Executive meeting tomorrow. And Mark Durkan is clearly not happy.From Mark Durkan
“We had hoped that following the extraordinary scenes in the Assembly yesterday, Mr Robinson might have taken the time to reflect on his approach and pull back from his attacks on DSD Minister Margaret Ritchie. Instead, in an unprecedented statement this evening he has sought to rewrite events of recent weeks. He is now attempting to treat tomorrow’s Executive meeting as a kangaroo court against a Minister who has taken a good decision, on good grounds, in good conscience and in accordance with her Pledge of Office.
“One is entitled to wonder whether we are watching him lose the run of himself or something more sinister, but it is nonetheless clear that Minister Robinson is overreaching his responsibilities. He thinks he runs the Executive, he’s trying to run the Civil Service and yesterday he sought to dictate to the Speaker.
“Mr Robinson’s ambition is well known, but the Prime Minister Peter act cannot be allowed to continue. His message to Margaret Ritchie is ‘don’t do what I do, do what I say”. That makes him a hypocrite and a bully. We await with interest to see whether Margaret Ritchie is the only Minister prepared to challenge his power grab.
“The events of recent days raise a number of serious political, procedural and constitutional questions. While others seek to create smokescreens and divert attention from these questions, the SDLP remains focussed and will be seeking answers in the days to come.”
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