The government is proposing the temporary return of dual mandates, MPs can also run as MLAs. This is being widely seen as a move to enable Jeffrey Donaldson to become an MLA but he can also maintain his MP status. His Lagan Valley seat is seen as vulnerable to Alliance so the DUP are doing all they can to avoid a by-election.
Blatant Jeffrey Mandering and *all* politicians should call it for what it is.
Democracy cannot be à la carte to suit the DUP.
This is a regressive step. Dual mandates were abolished for very good reason.
— Deirdre Heenan (@deirdreheenan) January 15, 2022
All the other political parties have condemned the move. From the Belfast Telegraph report:
Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie accused the Northern Ireland Office of “directly supporting the DUP election campaign”.
TUV leader Jim Allister claimed it was a “shameless fix”.
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill called it “blatant and disgraceful interference”, while the SDLP and Alliance said their three MPs will vote against the mandate when comes to the House of Commons.
Alliance leader Naomi Long, who quit Belfast City Council and the Assembly after being elected as East Belfast MP in 2010, said it was “a seriously retrograde step”.
Being an MP is a full time job, and then some, as is being an MLA. People deserve representation at both levels, and dual mandates were abolished for good reason. NIO should not be facilitating DUP threats and gambling with devolution #Dualstandardstoo https://t.co/OXdRYcuWZ8
— Claire Hanna (@ClaireHanna) January 15, 2022
Proponents of the move point out that this would bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK. For example, the current Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross sits as both an MP and an MSP.
Could the plans also be seen as an admission by the DUP that they don’t have enough big names to run in both elections?
Personally, I think this is an embarrassing outcome.
It looks like Jeffrey is afraid to commit to the Assembly, afraid the DUP will lose Lagan Valley and, coming got on the heels of him "pausing" his threat to collapse Stormont, will only fuel speculation that a deal was done.
— Naomi Long MLA (@naomi_long) January 15, 2022
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