SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell confirms he will exit from the Assembly “in the next few months”

I was in a very vulnerable seat in South Belfast. I’m re-elected there and I will be choosing Westminster [interrupted] We will sort out Stormont in the next few months, that will be done. (Alasdair McDonnell) Bookies will be opening two sets of odds today: Who will be Alasdair McDonnell’s replacement as MLA for Belfast South as he confirmed on today’s Sunday Politics that he will step down from his position as MLA? [Claire Hanna must surely be the favourite, … Read more

NI Conservatives – (not)Sponsored by FlyBe

In the 2010 General Election the Conservatives in NI party allied with the UUP and ran under the “Ulster Conservatives & Unionists – New Force” banner. It wasn’t successful, UUP lost their only sitting MP, no candidates were elected, and despite a couple of candidates coming a respectable second, such as Reg Empey losing by just over 1000 votes to William McCrea…it was a failure. The unionist alliance disbanded afterwards which has brought us to now… The Conservatives in NI … Read more

Martin McGuinness is to resign as MP to concentrate on being deputy First Minister

At lunchtime, Sinn Fein announced their timetable to end double jobbing at Westminster and the Assembly. The BBC explain: The Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is to resign as MP for Mid Ulster to concentrate on his job at Stormont. Sinn Fein’s four other MPs are to resign from their assembly seats as the party seeks to end ‘double-jobbing’. Party president Gerry Adams said this would avoid triggering a string of Westminster by-elections. So a Mid Ulster by-election expected in … Read more

DUP already planning for co-options?

DUP Getting it Right logo

During the final months of the last Assembly there was a steady stream of co-options as MLAs stood down and allowed potential successors to raise their profile. A similar situation was taking place at council level. It now seems extremely likely we will have a raft of co-options at Council level from the DUP at least immediately after the elections. They uniquely have stacked their Assembly slate with candidates also seeking election to Councils. 64% of their Assembly candidates are … Read more

SDLP: Internal sectarianism on display?

As Stormont parties debate Dawn Purvis’ doomed motion on double-jobbing, supported by all from the start, that now faces defeat at the hands of a DUP cross-community initative – you’d think others that endorsed the legislational would make at least a superficial attempt to support the spirit of what they ‘agree’ with ? Not the SDLP. Tonight, South Belfast SDLP (I’m informed 150 odd of them – I don’t believe it) selected Conal McDevitt, unelected MLA, and Dr Alasdair McDonnell … Read more

DUP ‘Petition of Concern’ to block double-jobbing bill?

According to Dawn Purvis, the DUP are shaping up to use a ‘Petition of Concern’ to sink her bill that is designed to prevent double-jobbing (where one individual holds the post of a Councillor and an MLA at the same time). The Local Government (Disqualification) Bill has, it seems, passed all-but-one of the assembly’s legislative proces stages. As Purvis says: “The Petition of Concern is a special provision designed to ensure that motions and legislation passed by the Assembly do … Read more

Dual mandate (council/MLA) bill passes Consideration Stage – but what are party plans for next spring?

Dawn Purvis’ private member’s bill got through its Consideration Stage this evening and now moves on to the next stage of its arduous journey into the statute books. Update – you can now read the Hansard transcript or watch the proceedings through BBC Democracy Live. In short the NIA Bill 7/09 Local Government (Disqualification) (Amendment) Bill removes the possibility of people holding a dual mandate to serve as an MLA at Stormont and also sit on their local council. It … Read more

Has the DUP already switched back on ‘double jobbing’?

Anyone watching Sammy Wilson last night on Stormont Today last night, may have noticed he devolved upwards the decision over his future as Finance Minister. It is, he said, a matter for his party leader. Well, the last time we looked it was DUP party policy was to unilaterally bring an end double jobbing. Or in Peter Robinson’s own words: “any of our Assembly Members elected to Westminster will give up their Assembly seats.” Even Sammy himself told Gerry Moriarty … Read more

Welsh Conservative MP told he must ‘double job’…

The DUP also rather helpfully point us in the direction of Alun Cairns, who as a sitting AM initially followed what seemed like party policy when he won the Westminster seat for the Vale of Glamorgan and offered to resign his seat of South Wales West (for clarity that’s Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Bridgend). Update: Heads up from Dewi, here’s what Politics Cymru has to say on the matter of his likely replacement.. An understandable decision when, the party’s … Read more