An opportunity for Claire Sugden

In yet another excellent piece for the Newsletter  Sam McBride highlights the fact that Claire Sugden, it appears, has the ability to call a public inquiry on RHI under the Inquiries Act 2005.

Up until this point the East Derry MLA has managed to avoid much of the media focus that has engulfed other Executive parties.

With the Attorney General’s Office making it clear that he cannot set up an investigation into the ‘Cash for Ash’ scheme it does appear that a Public Inquiry is the ‘the only show in town’.

The Attorney General may also want to avoid a potential conflict of interest, given the fact that he is appointed by the First and deputy First Ministers.

If an election is called Sugden’s seat is projected to be at risk.  However if she announces a public inquiry into RHI against the wishes of the DUP in particular then it will increase her political capital significantly and underline her position as an ‘Independent’ politician.

Indeed this decision, or a decision to resign from the Executive, could be the most significant one that she makes in her political career.

With an Assembly election potentially around the corner the Justice Minister has a lot of thinking to do.