Election will only make things worse, says Willie Hay

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Willie Hay has claimed an election won’t resolve the Stormont crisis and told the SDLP and UUP to stop pointing fingers, reminding them how they were in charge when the Assembly fell several times in the early noughties.

The DUP veteran, speaking in the British House of Lords, following former Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness’ resignation, said: “Unfortunately, in Northern Ireland it is not about the renewable heat initiative any more.

“As the former Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland will know, this will grow legs—and I understand that other issues are now coming into the melting pot.

“They, too, will have to be resolved. The issue is being compounded by other political parties and individuals in and around this.

“The only way forward is for the politicians of Northern Ireland to come together and resolve the matter once and for all - because here we are again, and we will be here again next year.”

He called on the former opposition parties to stop engaging in a blame game around the collapse of the Executive.

“I remember the early 2000s; the Assembly fell three times in almost four years when the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists were in charge. So let us stop the ​blame game and get to a point at which, eventually, all these issues - legacy issues and current issues - can be resolved.”

The cross-bench peer also warned that an election will only make things worse.

“We will come back after an election with the same situation, but worse. The Government must redouble their efforts to bring further measures to the table,” he said.