Karen Bradley cancels drinks reception for Stormont parties

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley cancelled a drinks reception for parties which had been planned as part of the talks process.
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley cancelled a drinks reception for parties which had been planned as part of the talks process.
Share this article

The Secretary of State Karen Bradley has cancelled a drinks reception for political parties after a number declined the invitation.

The reception was planned as part of the government’s ongoing attempts to facilitate talks to restore devolution.

A Northern Ireland Office spokesman said: “The Secretary of State considered that it would be valuable to bring together MLAs for an informal event alongside the ongoing talks process. This was part of the drive to make the process more inclusive, beyond those who sit around the talks table, and to help build relationships ahead of the restoration of the Assembly.

“As she has said, her top priority is to bring the talks to a successful conclusion, and [Tuesday’s] event was intended to be a further step on that road.

“The Secretary of State respects that the parties have concluded they are not ready for this yet. The event will therefore not take place.”

DUP MP Gavin Robinson described the idea as “unhelpful” while Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill said they would not be attending. The SDLP said the public “wants us working to secure a return to government rather than attending drinks receptions”.