TUV gives warning on ‘chequebook summit’

TUV leader Jim Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

TUV leader Jim Allister has issued a warning against what he calls “financial spin over the chequebook summit”.

“As we head into another chequebook summit and chequebook deal, it is timely to recall the smoke and mirrors over finance which attended the devolving of policing and justice,” he said.

“Key to spin then was much vaunted talk about an extra £800m. But where did it go? No one seems to know. What we do know is that Department of Justice is today so strapped for cash it can’t even keep a drug rehabilitation unit open.

“I suspect the same disingenuous trick is about to be pulled again, with lots of hype about money, money, money. Something which reflects just how self-serving the whole Stormont circus is for the Executive parties.”

Meanwhile, UKIP’s leader in Northern Ireland David McNarry MLA says he is demanding to know if the DUP are engaged in secret talks with Alex Salmond and the Scottish National Party as part of an arrangement to form a Labour-led coalition government after the next election.

“Following Alex Salmond’s interview on Newsnight a range of disturbing options have been raised,” Mr McNarry said. “It appears that both the DUP and Sinn Fein may be talking to Salmond and the SNP about putting in a Labour Government in a cynical numbers game following the election – that is if a another hung Parliament is elected. If Sinn Fein did take their seats at Westminster this would be a huge reversal of a century-old policy. People should remember, however, that it has been done before. In the years before the First World War John Redmond’s Nationalists put in a Liberal Government with the price being Home Rule for Ireland. Could Sinn Fein now be planning to do the same with Labour – with part of the price being the removal of Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and part being the end of austerity policies? Is Alex Salmond preparing to be the midwife of such a deal?”

The former UUP MLA added that BBC Newsnight prompted serious questions.

“I think we are all entitled to ask and to expect a response – are the DUP involved in any negotiations with Salmond and Labour quite apart from any talks they are having with the Conservatives? We should also ask – are Sinn Fein also involved in such negotiations?”