The clash of the dual mandate

Following up on Belfast Gonzo’s post about the performance of those public representatives who serve both as MPs and MLA ministers, for those who don’t know, two wonderful websites will be a revelation – TheyWorkforYou.com and The Public Whip. Together they provide an ongoing record of each rep’s voting record, speeches and answers to questions at Westminster and speeches etc in the Assembly. I offer two samples.

Peter Robinson voted in 40.9% of Commons divisions since the General Election of 2005. Mark Durkan voted in 25.5% of divisions.

And you can browse to your heart’s content in the Robinson a and Durkan record of speeches etc in both Stormont and Westminster. You are even supplied with the essential performance details and how to contact your favourite or least favourite politician, eg Robinson or Durkan.

For Robinson, the present Executive hasn’t been up and running long enough, and Durkan’s active term as DFM didn’t clash with his MP’s service, so it isn’t possible yet to work out if the duties of the MP might be said to clash with those of the same person as a Stormont minister. I suspect the Westminster voting record for DUP ministers as reported in the Irish News hasn’t so far been much different from what it was before they became ministers. NI MPs have never played a full part in the main party battle between Labour and Conservative, although my impression is that attendance at Commons debates is down.
But keep monitoring these two great sites, and by the end of the year you’ll have a good idea if DUP ministers are falling down on the job as MPs.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London