Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Paterson, made a vow to end double-jobbing MPs and MLAs. He said:
“I don’t believe anybody can be a full-time MP and a full-time Assembly Member, and so I will give you this commitment today – by agreement if possible, but by law if necessary – we will end double-jobbing.”
So a marker has been laid down. Either the parties get their own houses in order of the Northern Ireland Act will be changed to disallow a sitting MP from taking up a seat in Stormont.
However, he has gone on to say the people of Northern Ireland should have the option of voting for a party that could form a government. Now forgive me for butting in but over the last two years there have been three parties that have been able to form and act in Government at Westminster. So surely the people should have a choice in voting for the parties that could form a government as well as the Northern Irish parties who have been seen as key opponents or allies of governments past and present.
If Paterson is saying that the people of Northern Ireland should be allowed to vote for the party that forms government, meaning only his own, what about Labour and the Liberal Democrats as well?