Alliance grip tightens? Or hold hands with Sugden?

Waiting for the FA Cup Final the Newsletter has made a simple inquiry to the renamed OFMDFM. Presumably they passed the information onto the office holders who will respond accordingly. My job share suggestion won’t fly apparently. Brendan Heading is not the only one interested…But how about SF  and DUP one after the other, like Israel’s Shimon Peres and Yitzak Shamir? ( a grandiose parallel I admit.).

 In the 1984 elections, the Alignment won more seats than any other party but failed to muster the majority of 61 mandates needed to form a left-wing coalition. Alignment and Likud agreed to an unusual “rotation” arrangement, or unity government, in which Peres would serve as Prime Minister and the Likud leaderYitzhak Shamir would be Foreign Minister..Apart of the deal, after two years, Peres and Shamir traded places.

It is not possible to have both a DUP and a Sinn Fein justice minister, the Executive Office has declared.

There had been speculation online about whether such a move was a feasible way to solve the impasse around appointing a justice minister who is suitable to both nationalists/republicans and unionists/loyalists.

But while the Northern Ireland Act (1998) does appear to make provision for such a move, the Executive Office said that it was not the correct law upon which to focus.

A spokesperson for The Executive Office (which was formerly called the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister, or OFMDFM) said: “The appointment of a Minister will be conducted under the provisions of the Justice Act 2010 which does not provide for a joint ministerial post.”

There had also been speculation that the wording of the Northern Ireland Act may also allow non-MLAs to be in the running for the justice ministry.

However, the Executive Office also addressed this too, saying: “Only a member of the Assembly can be nominated to hold the office of Minister of Justice (Schedule 4A of the Northern Ireland Act 1998).”

 

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