DUP to use bizarre ‘non-government’ tactic in bid to get PM to act

Peter Robinson and his party hold a press conference at Stormont to announce ministerial resignations. 'Photo Matt Bohill/Pacemaker Press
Peter Robinson and his party hold a press conference at Stormont to announce ministerial resignations. 'Photo Matt Bohill/Pacemaker Press

Peter Robinson has set out an extraordinary plan to use Stormont’s rules to ensure that there is no minister in four Executive departments until Westminster suspends Stormont.

The DUP leader said that he will stop the ministries vacated by several DUP ministers on Thursday, among which is the health ministry, from going to nationalists by renominating those ministers after a week, then immediately withdrawing them — and repeating the process over and over.

As the DUP attempts to build pressure on the Government to suspend Stormont, Mr Robinson admitted that it was an “ugly option”, but the DUP believes that it can use the tactic to pressure the Prime Minister into stepping in and ending what would ultimately become a farcical situation.

The plan was derided as a “pantomime” by TUV leader Jim Allister and UUP leader Mike Nesbitt accused Mr Robinson of “total confusion”.

“We will do exactly the same thing again,” Mr Robinson told UTV. “We will resign until such times as the matters are resolved.”

Writing in Saturday’s News Letter, Mr Robinson hints that the DUP might not attend Monday’s all-party talks.

But Mr Robinson made clear that he does not want to collapse Stormont over the allegation that the IRA murdered Kevin McGuigan.