DUP ‘Petition of Concern’ to block double-jobbing bill?

According to Dawn Purvis, the DUP are shaping up to use a ‘Petition of Concern’ to sink her bill that is designed to prevent double-jobbing (where one individual holds the post of a Councillor and an MLA at the same time). The Local Government (Disqualification) Bill has, it seems, passed all-but-one of the assembly’s legislative proces stages.

As Purvis says:

“The Petition of Concern is a special provision designed to ensure that motions and legislation passed by the Assembly do not disadvantage one community over another. It is not meant to be used to protect the personal interests of political parties or political leaders.”

Given that it has wide-ranging cross-party support (only the DUP and the Alliance oppose it) this would, surely, be an odd use of a provision that was designed to stop the imposition of discriminatory communal measures?

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  • joeCanuck

    When I was a lad, councillors didn’t get a salary, just had their expenses reimbursed. Has that changed?

  • cynic47

    The DUP, and to a lesser extent the Alliance Party, are well rehearsed at pulling self serving strokes. If they try this one they will regret misreading the public mood on this issue.

  • Truth & Justice

    But are they misreading the public mood? im not so sure, the probelm is any other Councillor can hold a full time job but not an MLA the public are not stupid on this point.

  • cynic47

    Why are they so determined to hold on to their Council posts? Is it an ego thing or could it be purely financial? Does the DUP have a deficit of people to step forward to stand for Council? What is the rationale of the Alliance Party in trying to put back double jobbing until 2015?

  • Rory Carr

    The use of such a crude device in such an inappropriate manner in order to so blatantly preserve sinecures for DUP jobsworths ought really to rebound to Dawn Purvis’s future political advantage. But that would be in a perfect world and one would need to be of a hopelessly Panglossian outlook to suppose that it will.

  • The Greedy bastards should be summarily dismissed if they are caught promoting their own self interest, and I realise this would mean the ‘loss’ of almost all politicians everywhere.

  • Stephen Blacker

    This is a total disgrace and shows the lenghts the DUP will go to to get their way. Unfortunately this will not effect the DUP vote in May 2011 but it is still not right or democratic.

  • dodrade

    If a politician seeks a dual mandate and the electorate disapproves they can vote for another candidate. I think this issue has been widely overplayed by the media, it certaInly didn’t do Sinn Fein any harm in May.

  • This has been done before by the DUP on the motion critical of Sammy Wilson’s views on the environment. They got away with it then so I don’t see what is stopping them this time.

  • Cynic

    I suspect t6hat they have a cultural thing of ‘holding ion to voters’ form election to election ie dont give the buggers time to think between putting an X on the page as they might realise what they are electing!

    Now why would the DUP be the party most concerned about that?

  • Comrade Stalin

    But we all know that isn’t going to happen as, despite the rampant imagination of some contributors here and in the media, it is the voting public who consistently endorse politicians to do multiple jobs, and every single party in NI is guilty of it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    People like Sammy Wilson, Nigel Dodds, Willie McCrea, etc all stood on mandates as double (or more!) jobbers and all topped the poll. Likewise, I might add, Margaret Ritchie and Alisdair McDonnell. What evidence is there that the public mood is being misread ?

  • Framer

    Agreed. And it is probably contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights that you could not be elected to both positions.

  • This would indeed be pretty poor if the DUP do use the petition of concern. However, we must note that anything coming from Purvis has to be taken with a pinch of salt. I do not think Purvis should be regarded as the font of all wisdom let alone truth on this or any other issue. It may be true but we would need to wait and see: it could simply be Purvis grandstanding.

  • Granni Trixie

    Thank they get 10K. – dont think thats bad – cover out of pocket expenses?

  • Stephen Blacker

    This is a total disgrace for the DUP to even consider doing but I would put nothing past them. The problem I have is that the DUP arguments against some of the clauses in Dawn Purvis’s private members Bill does not warrant this aggressive response, so what is the REAL reason for opposing this Bill??

    According to “The Devenport Diaries” a DUP representative has all but confirmed Ms. Purvis’s fears and according to Twitter posts Ms. Purvis will be appearing on “Stormont Today” at 23.20 on BBC2.

  • pippakin

    Comrade Stalin

    Yes, that is how it was, not sure its the same any more. The greed and incompetence have been completely exposed and now everyone is watching very closely.

  • The Raven

    It’s around £9.5k PLUS expenses – mileage, “etc”.

  • cynic47

    Is it morally right?

  • cynic47

    As above. Is it morally right?

  • joeCanuck

    I don’t think morals come into it. I think it is shortchanging the electorate but a large part of the electorate seems happy enough. Who am I to judge them?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Yes, that is how it was, not sure its the same any more. The greed and incompetence have been completely exposed and now everyone is watching very closely.

    What is it you’re arguing here – that the last election didn’t actually happen ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    As above. Is it morally right?

    Yeah sure, let’s pass laws to stop things that aren’t morally right. That’s a great way to promote inclusivity and new ideas.

  • cynic47

    MLA are doing the same social work as Councillors in my opinion and simply getting two salaries for their efforts. No one has answered the question why the Alliance Party and the DUP are so keen not to put new blood forward for the Assembly. If some of the double jobbers are so attached to their Council seats then why don’t they give the Assembly Election a bye ball? There must be something very special about being a Councillor. Do they get chocolate biscuits with their tea?

  • cynic47

    New blood for Council/Assembly.

  • Wabbits

    I also hear that parties are not discouraging encumbent Councillors who are now on their Assembly tickets from choosing which one to stand for next year.

    That is that someone who is a local Councillor but who is new to the Assembly ticket can run for both and worse still it will be on the same day.

    I understand why. But it makes a mockery of the whole aanti double jobbing campaign and hardly encourages new people to come through.

    Furthermore, lets imagine that a present day Councillor wins both elections (MLA & Council) but the partys avowed position is to end double jobbing. That would then mean that there would be an almost immediate Co-option of an individual for a five year term who hadn’t either been originally elected or even on that partys original ticket to be voted for by the electorate. Madness !!

    I think all of that made sense.

  • pippakin

    Comrade Stalin

    The election happened and so did the financial disaster and now people, previously content to vote the way they always did, are looking very closely indeed at where the cuts are being made and who is getting off light.

  • Comrade Stalin

    No one has answered the question why the Alliance Party and the DUP are so keen not to put new blood forward for the Assembly.

    Because the question is bollocks. First off, one Alliance MLA is stepping down (hopefully, if East Antrim goes well, to be replaced by another Alliancer). Naomi was also replaced by Chris Lyttle in his first major political role. Anna Lo is completing her first term, having won the election she ran in shortly after joining the party for the first time. You can’t say Alliance doesn’t promote new blood.

    Secondly, I don’t accept that the public are necessarily enamoured by “new blood”. In fact if you look at the last Westminster elections, people who campaigned with “new blood” written across their forehead lost heavily. Experience counts and people want representatives who know their stuff.

    If parties listen to arguments like yours, which ignore who the public actually vote for and rely on a mythical and unsubstantiated idea of what is actually popular with the electorate – then they start losing elections, just like UCUNF did. End of.

    There must be something very special about being a Councillor. Do they get chocolate biscuits with their tea?

    Your argument gets more incoherent with every contribution. What are you arguing now – that anybody who wants to be a councillor must have ulterior motives ?

  • cynic47

    Haven’t had the benefit of the opportunity “to sleep on it” I have tried to re focus on the theme of this thread. The thread is not about the merits of double jobbing or Dawn Purvis’s bill but more about the alleged reaction of the DUP to having suffered a 52 to 40 defeat on their amendment to push the implimentation of the legislation back to 2015. The decision taken by the Assembly was entirely democratic and should be respected. The technical mechanism that the DUP is allegedly going to employ to frustrate the Bill is akin to the street corner football matches where the player who owned the ball stormed off with it in a huff if they didn’t get to take all the penalty kicks. The message to the DUP is grow up! We all know you are clever when it comes to worming yourselves out of tight corners but are you really democrats?

  • cynic47

    Comrade.

    In as many words as you need perhaps you would explain the advantages to the public of an elected representative being an MLA at the same time as being a Local Government Councillor?

    Could you also enlighten us why you think Stephen Farry went through the lobbies to support the DUP on pushing back the legislation until 2015 and on the same day announced he would not seek re-election as a Councillor but would stand as an MLA next May.

  • dennis

    The decision taken by the Assembly was entirely democratic and should be respected…………….

    nonsense there have been many votes that have not proceeded simply because of the petition of concern, that is our democracy

    if anyone thinks the DUP will be hurt by this think again, they survived the MPs expenses, Iris` love affair and Peters land deal and are still the largest unionist party.

  • cynic47

    Dennis,

    Have you been away? The DUP leader lost his seat in Westminster

  • dennis

    Cynic, many were reporting a complete meltdown for the DUP
    and robbos vote (in numbers) was virtually identical to the 2007 assembly election

    The DUP is still the largest unionist party and will remain so

  • cynic47

    I see Dennis! So Robbo didn’t really do that badly then?