‘Instability will ensue if Protocol issue not resolved soon,’ says Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart

Upper Bann MP Carla Lockhart has warned the government to ‘exercise extreme caution’ if they are considering imposing ‘cultural legislation’.

Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 4:56 pm

The DUP MP said: “When the institutions were torn down by Sinn Féin in early 2017, 1 was a Member of the NI Assembly. Three years followed that have seen our public services degenerate. The legacy of Martin McGuiness’s resignation is seen to this day: longer waiting lists, a health service that is stretched beyond its limits, a social housing crisis, a roads infrastructure that is crumbling, missed investment opportunities for job creation, and other public services held back.

“Of course, for those three years the Government did nothing to face down the petulant, self-serving actions of Sinn Féin, which is deeply regrettable. A kid-glove approach was adopted when it came to confronting Sinn Féin and its reckless actions, and sadly we remain under this threat, for we know that the Government have stated that if the cultural package contained in “New Decade, New Approach” is not delivered to Sinn Féin’s timetable, it will be brought through in this place (House of Commons).

“Let me urge the Government to exercise extreme caution in this regard. If they are serious about letting elected representatives govern NI, it simply cannot continue to be the case that when agreement cannot be reached or takes longer than one party may wish — and the established trend is that the party jumped to is Sinn Féin — the Government take the powers back to this place.

“That is the recipe for instability, and it is also the fuel that fires the growing disenchantment and disillusionment in the Unionist community with the whole Stormont edifice.

“The Secretary of State knows of the deep hurt many people felt in Northern Ireland when the Government chose to intervene in the provision of abortion.

“This pick-and-choose devolution settlement only leads to discontent and disillusionment. It makes people ask what is the point of devolution if the Government intervene when the agenda of some must be satisfied.

“In this context, the necessity is for the Government to act to resolve the widespread community concern about the Northern Ireland Protocol. Time is moving on, and the patience of this party and the people is not without limit; indeed, it is stretched to breaking point right now. Promises of progress, of conclusions in weeks, are just talk. Let us see the action that is needed to ensure that political stability is restored to Northern Ireland and the damaging impact of this disastrous protocol for all the people of Northern Ireland is consigned to the past.”

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