Owen Paterson: “in facing the challenges and exploiting every opportunity offered we function best when we are a team”

While the Irish Government struggles to cope with the game of geo-political hardball they are engaged in, the BBC reports that our own special little pleaders – the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers – have issued a statement following a meeting of the UK Joint Ministerial Committee.

In case you didn’t know

  • The Joint Ministerial Committee is established by the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Government and the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Its purpose is to provide central coordination of the overall relationship between the administrations.
  • Its terms of reference cover issues straddling the devolved/non-devolved boundaries; by agreement, the treatment of devolved matters in different parts of the UK; reviewing liaison arrangements between the Government and the devolved administrations; and considering disputes between administrations.
  • The MoU makes clear JMC is a consultative, rather than an executive body. [added emphasis]
  • ANYhoo… according to the BBC report

    The first and deputy first ministers have raised concerns over the government’s spending review with the deputy PM.

    Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness spoke to Nick Clegg at a Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting in London on Monday.

    Did they discuss that with the NI Secretary of State?  Probably not…

    And, apparently speaking on behalf of the UK deputy Prime Minister,

    A joint statement released by Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness said:”We are particularly concerned about the capital figures that have been applied and the potentially devastating effect the reduction would have on our local economy. [added link]

    “The deputy prime minister has acknowledged that the figures are in dispute and has given an undertaking that they will be re-examined by the Northern Ireland Office and the Treasury.”

    And delay the NI draft budget even further…

    “We therefore hope that this matter can be resolved and obviate the need for us to consider invoking the JMC dispute resolution mechanism.”

    That would show them, eh?

    Adds  OFMDFM statement.