DUP: Sinn Fein MP's should have pay cut like Stormont Assembly members

Sinn Fein MPs who choose not to take their seat in Westminster should face similar pay sanctions to Stormont Assembly members, the DUP said.

The call came after Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley announced she would be cutting MLA pay by more than £13,000 in light of the continued stand-off between the governing parties and their failure to form an executive.

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald

Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald

Ms Bradley justified the pay cut by telling MPs that the MLAs were not "performing the full range of their legislative functions".

DUP MPs asked the Northern Ireland Secretary whether the same logic could be applied to Sinn Fein MPs who refuse to take their seats in the House of Commons.

Sinn Fein MPs refuse to take their seats as they do not recognise the UK Parliament's right to legislate for any part of Ireland.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell (East Londonderry), speaking in the Commons, said: "Does she not apply the same logic then to abstentionist Members of Parliament?

"They claim hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money for not performing their full legislative function."

Fellow DUP MP Jim Shannon (Strangford) added: "If you're going to hit the pockets of the Northern Ireland Assembly members, which is right to do, would the Secretary of State agree that the same principles for Northern Ireland Assembly members should now apply to those who refuse to do their work in this House?"

Ms Bradley responded by saying that the matter of pay and allowance was "a matter for this House and therefore not one that it would be appropriate for me to comment on".

Earlier in the question session, shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Tony Lloyd said he cautiously welcomed the proposals to cut MLA pay but urged his opposite number to "do more" to break the "logjam".

Responding to Ms Bradley's statement, Mr Lloyd told the Commons: "This is a small step, and in general terms, guardedly, we'll look to support her where that's appropriate but she's got to do more to break this logjam."

Mr Lloyd earlier told MPs: "There are many, many decisions now that are held in logjam because of the democratic crisis in Northern Ireland - critical issues."

He listed issues including the existence of the policing board, nurses' pay and equal marriage.

"It isn't acceptable that we've had a process of governance by judicial review, it is not acceptable that people cannot go to an elected member of the assembly or of this parliament but have to go through the courts to seek justice.

"But part of the test of what the Secretary of State sets forward has got to be 'is this moving forward the kind of issues that I've already mentioned, will it see resolution of those'?"