TUV sets out alternative to ‘failed’ Executive

TUV leader Jim Allister
TUV leader Jim Allister

The TUV has set out two proposals which it says could improve government in Northern Ireland – one of which is a compromise between direct rule and devolved government.

The party, which has been accused of attacking the Stormont system but not offering credible alternatives, set out its proposals on Thursday with the launch of a leaflet at Parliament Buildings.

TUV leader Jim Allister unveiled the two “fresh thinking” proposals, the first of which is a long-standing TUV policy – a voluntary coalition to form the Executive, with a weighted vote system in the Assembly providing some protection for minorities.

However, the fact that such a system would probably see Sinn Fein ejected from government means that it is unlikely to be accepted by London.

But it also set out its “plan B”, which it said would be a “stop gap” until voluntary coalition is accepted.

Mr Allister said that the Stormont Assembly could be retained – and retain its power to legislate – but the Executive could be abolished and replaced with direct rule ministers.

Those ministers, he said, would be accountable to the Assembly and would have to secure its agreement for their legislative programme.

He said that would take account of what he said was the relative success of the Assembly while removing the “failure” of the Executive.

Mr Allister said: “The present Stormont institutions are not worth saving.

“They have had their chance and all they produce is constant deadlock, chaos and lamentable failure. Even if the present talks cobble together another short term fix, it won’t last.

“It’s time to move on. Let’s focus on the positive work of building something that will work, not the backward looking negativity of trying to persist with that which has failed.”