Alliance leader Naomi Long has said her party’s MLAs will not attend Monday’s recall of the Stormont Assembly, branding it a “cynical political stunt”.
In a statemet on Sunday, she said: “Alliance’s MLAs have discussed this with colleagues and have decided to not attend Monday’s sitting of the Assembly. It is a cynical political stunt, which has no prospect of leading to the formation of an Executive, but it will increase acrimony between parties and bring the chamber further into disrepute, making an actual restoration more difficult,” she said.
“The intention of this recall is not to block abortion law and equal marriage, but to create the illusion the DUP are trying to do so.
“Regardless of our individual views on abortion, Alliance believes it is not appropriate to treat a serious issue with profound consequences in such a cynical matter and we want nothing to do with such a charade. It has already caused genuine fear and anxiety for those who believe a meeting of the Assembly will have any effect, including LGBT couples who have arranged marriages for next year.
“In addition, raising the expectations of the wider community that a sustainable Assembly can be formed without any intensive negotiations, compromise from the two largest parties, or reform of the institutions to make them fit for purpose is fundamentally dishonest. We will not be party to such a lie.
“Alliance’s MLAs will be in Parliament Buildings on Monday, as they have been every week since the collapse of the institutions. Not only are we available for talks but we demand they start immediately. If those who signed this petition feel so strongly about the formation of an Executive and wish to take decisions, they must take responsibility for reaching a deal to deliver that. We are ready to play our part in forming an Assembly and Executive which is able to effect real change and make progress for everyone in our community.”
Sinn Fein has already said it will not be attending Monday’s recall either, branding it a “stunt”.
Thirty MLAs had signed recall petition ensuring the Assembly’s recall.