UUP launch 5 point plan to clean up Stormont

The Ulster Unionists have launched a 5 point plan to clean up Stormont;

Election of Speaker

It is vital that the public and the Assembly can have confidence in the impartiality of the Speaker. In the last mandate this was brought into disrepute.

The election of the Speaker can no longer be subject to a carve-up between the two largest parties. We want to see future Speakers elected through a secret ballot of MLAs.

Scrutiny Committees

Executive Ministers must be effectively scrutinised. That role should be performed by the Assembly’s statutory committees, yet their legal duty is to “advise and assist” Ministers, not scrutinise them. We want to strengthen the role of Assembly Committees, making effective, detailed scrutiny a statutory duty.

Petitions of Concern

We must put an end to the abuse of Petitions of Concern, which were designed specifically to protect minority interests, not political parties. No one envisaged the situation where one party had sufficient MLAs to bring forward a PoC on their own. This has corrupted the intent of the PoC, allowing one party to hold a veto over the Assembly. The Petition of Concern was designed to be a valuable mechanism to protect minorities from harmful law changes. Instead we have seen it deployed to protect Nelson McCausland, Sammy Wilson and most recently the Speaker Robin Newton from criticism.

The reduction in the number of MLAs sees the need for a review of the operation of the Petition of Concern mechanism. We would propose a requirement that the signatories must come from more than one party, this maintains the original intent of the petition while limiting opportunities for misuse.

Transparency in Political Donations

The time is right to introduce transparency in political donations. The public want openness at the heart of government, something the DUP and Sinn Fein Executive have a shabby record of.

We want the public to have confidence in the decision makers, and providing them with the information on who is making donations to political parties would be an important step in the right direction.

We have written to the Secretary of State proposing that records of donations to political parties are published from the start of the 2017/2018 financial year.

 

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  • Oriel27

    5 point plan, were they talking to Enda?

  • Zorin001

    For me its the PoC, it either needs major reform or its got to go.

    Transparancy in donations another one i’d like to see but you can bet your bottom dollar there are vested interests in both sides to stop that one.

  • BermySte

    This is only 4 points…

  • Gaygael

    Good to see. Some Green policies here and nice to see them move on transparency in donations, even if it’s later than we would prefer.

    Interesting about the Speaker too.

  • Nordie Northsider

    The Fifth point will be revealed at a time of MIke’s choosing – like the secrets of Fatima.

  • file

    OK – a quick yes or no for Mike TV:
    1) Elected Speaker = Yes
    2) Committees = No – I do not like all the committees and the waste of time they are at the minute. You need Public Accounts Committee, and a Did a Minister Contravene his Pledge of Office Committee, and that is about it.
    3) Petition of Concern = No, not this plan. Make petitions of Concern one of the responsibilities of The (impartial) Speaker – he looks at proposals, takes advice from the civil servants, and he decides whether or not a motion will be subject to a Petition of Concern and thus require cross(er) community support.
    4) Political Donations = No. This is just an attack on Sinn Féin. I do not care nor want to know what rich people do with their money.

  • murdockp

    Clean up Stormont.

    Not possible as the job attracts career politicians who’s life ambition is to work in politics and in most cases they have no experience of working in ‘normal jobs’ so they have no exposure to the ‘checks and balances’ of everyday life only knowing the Mcavellian life that is NI politics and because most come into politics as University leavers what they consider to be ‘normal’ is in fact ‘abnormal’ behaviour.

    My observation is most of them will do anything to further their aims to deliver ultimately become first minister. Look at Arlene’s behaviour when it came down to it, The I will survive at all costs and to hell with reputation of others if you get in my way approach.

    However a few rules would help:-

    (1) A moratorium on employing family members or any person with a connection to the politician through any form of cohabiting / partnership relationship.

    I.e. stop the ‘I personally was not connected with a beneficiary of the RHI scheme, it was my sisters fiancee who received the money’ type bullsh””t.

    (2) Stop MLAs’ from renting constituency offices with the same rules as (1) applied.

    (3) Stop MLA’s voting on policy that will result in the connected personas referred to in (1) and (2) above benefiting, so if they are voting on giving grants to farmers and the MLA is connected to a beneficiary, they must abstain from the vote.

    (4) Freedom from religion. Religion has to be removed from policy and I don’t mean the protestant catholic stuff, I mean all religion. As much as I support the freedom to worship any religion and will fight to ensure that right continues to exist, we also need to have rights that free us from religion e.g. same sex marriage, licencing laws, Sunday trading, abortion etc.

    The Asher’s cake trail showed the ridiculousness of religion in NI society for all us to see.

  • Granni Trixie

    Point of information:I think the rules for employing members was changed over last year or two from MLAs being allowed to employ multiple family members to one family member. But I agree zero is best.

  • Granni Trixie

    Re No4: secrecy over political donations can hide conflict of interest situations a good example being RHI and form part of the paper trail (‘follow the money’). And I do not agree at all that calls for transparency of this kind are to get at Sf. Why do you think that ? If anything you could more easily say it’s to get at DUP.

  • Teddybear

    5 points. One each for each UUP MLA returned at next election.

  • eireanne3

    If the UUP really wants to clean up Stormont they should stop a gigantic Conflict of Interest.

    At present if a Unionist voter votes for candidate X, member of the Loyal Orders, the voter doesn’t know which interest will predominate – the party’s or the Loyal Orders’

    So call a halt to the Loyal Orders piggy-backing Unionist MLAs

    Unionist parties should refuse to accept and stand candidates who are members of Loyal orders.
    Unionist voters should refuse to vote for candidates who are members of the Loyal orders.

    If the Loyal orders want to hold political power – let them form a party, publish their manifesto, stand candidates and canvass votes – like all political parties do.

  • Fear Éireannach

    There are perfectly valid reasons to oppose same sex marriage, licencing laws, Sunday trading, abortion etc. which have nothing to do with religion. You may wish to maintain the integrity of marriage, reduce drunkeness, provide a day off for workers and be opposed to killing people.

  • murdockp

    (1) Valid reasons – there are none
    (2) Licencing – The short licencing window has created the binge drink culture which the likes of Italy, France does not have and were they have no such restrictions and have a far more mature relationship with alcohol
    (3) A day off, what a nonsense statement next time you go to a hospital or buy petrol on a Sunday, be thankful nurses and doctors are working.

    the Nanny state policing how we live has to stop.

  • file

    I think that cos Sinn Féin is seen as the richest party, and various people are dying to know who the closet Provies are in the USA.

  • Zorin001

    “maintain the integrity of marriage”

    That ship sailed a long long time ago.

  • Reader

    eireanne3: If the UUP really wants to clean up Stormont they should stop a gigantic Conflict of Interest.
    There are loads of other conflicts of interest. For instance, I understand a lot of MLAs are Churchgoers. Well, that’s a huge conflict of interest for anyone who is the least bit sincere in their beliefs.

  • eireanne3

    i presume church-goers do not promote sectarianism and do try to overcome divisions in NI society.
    The Loyal Orders are perceived as promoting their own agenda within the political institutions.
    Remember the Haas talks?

    Anyway as I wrote “If the Loyal orders want to hold and exert political power – let them form a party, publish their manifesto, stand candidates and canvass votes”
    That’s what normal political parties, of all shades of opinion, do in democratic societies.

  • grumpy oul man

    Really ” closet provies” you do now the provos dont exist anymore and no interest if how many DUP backers made money out of ash for cash.

  • LordSummerisle

    The obsession with the loyal orders is tiresome. If an MLS is a member of a Golf Club I would very much like to know given that they are hotbeds of middle class anti Catholic snobbery.

  • eireanne3

    it’s not an obsession with the Loyal Orders – it’s a reflection on the Loyal Orders’ obsessive desire to secretly wield power in Northern Ireland by piggy-backing on to Unionist parties- as they have done since NI’s inception.

    Anyway as I wrote “If the Loyal Orders want to hold and exert political power – let them form their own party, publish their manifesto, stand their own candidates and canvass votes”

    That’s what normal political parties, of all shades of opinion, do in democratic societies”.

  • LordSummerisle

    I am afraid that is a nonsense. Those fraternal organisations do not wield power in Northern Ireland nor do they have the desire to. It is akin to saying that Freemasonry controls everything from your refuge collection to the United Nations.