DUP say all-party talks aren't indication a deal is closer - Gavin Robinson says Government needs to completely change its approach
Asked by the BBC’s Joel Taggart whether the talks indicated a narrowing of the gap between his party and the government, the DUP’s deputy leader said if all the issues the party had raised with the government were met – sustainable devolution still couldn’t happen because of Stormont’s finances.
Mr Robinson said he put no store in the Secretary of State’s comments that talks were in their “final, final stages” and pointed to Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s comments that the DUP would not be calendar led. “It is a matter for the government whether they are prepared to recognise the harm that the caused to Northern Ireland. Recognise the Windsor Framework was significant progress in that endeavour, but there is still more work to be done”. He said the government should “fundamentally change their approach and their interest in these issues”.
"The government know what is required. We have indicated to them very clearly the issues that need to be resolved to respect Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market”, Mr Robinson said.
The East Belfast MP told the BBC that if the government value devolution they will “repair the harm that they have caused. They will build on the significant work of the Windsor Framework to get the job done. Because for me the prize in Northern Ireland is great. For our public services and our community more generally, the prize is great.”
He continued: “What we have seen over the last number of months is a total failure of the government to seize that opportunity on resolving the issues of the Windsor Framework – and failure to seize the opportunity to recognise that without a significant change to the way Northern Ireland is funded – our public services are going to falter”.
He also said: "The issues are parallel. And they are both of significant importance. We have never ignored the financial issues – in fact we were the first party to raise them in parliament back in January – and we were derided at that time. Now other parties are on board. Take the Brexit issues: whenever we were raising concerns we were derided by other parties. And when the Windsor Framework was published they recognised our achievements. If we work together on these issues – and it applies on financial terms and on the issues relating to Brexit – we will see positive progress. But as it stands today, we need the government to completely change their approach and recognise the concerns there are about finances and come back with a meaningful proposal which isn’t a one-off bung with something superficial. This needs to work for the long term”.