County Derry politicians react to failed presidential nomination as election looms


County Derry politicians have spoken out following the Assembly’s latest failure to elect a Speaker, an act that would have allowed the Assembly to sit.

MPs had been called back to Stormont in a bid to elect a Speaker before a midnight deadline imposed by NI Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris.

Mid-Ulster MP Patsy McGlone was again nominated by her party colleague Matthew O’Toole, with UUP leader Doug Beattie nominating Mike Nesbitt again.

Neither candidacy was able to garner cross-community support from the entire chamber, and the plenary session of the Assembly was subsequently suspended.

East Derry MP Cara Hunter said it was ‘shameful’ that an election is now due to take place.

“I think it’s absolutely shameful that £6.5m of public money is going towards an election that will solve nothing and will only cause more division,” she said.

“Struggling families will pay the true cost of the DUP boycott. But should an election be called, the SDLP and I will be back, doing what I can to deliver to the public.

Independent East Derry MP Claire Sugden said it would be an election “no one wants”.

“Today MPs are debating the election of a president who could start the process towards a functioning executive and assembly,” she said.

“I don’t support the protocol, but it needs to be fixed, it can be fixed and it will be fixed.

“It’s a shame then that an election no one wants is being called. This will only serve to delay aid to those in NI who need it most, including struggling workers.

Sinn Féin MP for Mid Ulster, Emma Sheerin, also called the failure to form a government “shameful”.

“Sinn Féin ministers, even paralyzed, have put money back into the pockets of workers and families,” she said.

“That the DUP refuses to form a government, allowing everyone to suffer, for something (their Brexit outcome) that Stormont has no say in, is shameful.”

MP Foyle Sinéad McLaughlin said she was ‘sick to the back teeth’ of the division which she said was ‘holding us down’.

“Derry deserves a policy that does something,” she said.

“It creates jobs and opportunity, improves childcare, funds addiction services and delivers the university we were promised.

“It’s the least the people of Derry deserve. And it infuriates me that it’s been denied.

Ciara Ferguson, Sinn Féin MP for Foyle, said it was “unacceptable” that democracy was “denied”.

“It is unacceptable that you are denied democracy at a time when bills are skyrocketing and people are suffering on hospital waiting lists,” she said.

“We need everyone to work together to get us through these difficult times. The DUP must stop blocking an executive, work with us and support the people now.



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