Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Durkan Condemns 'Prime Minister' Robinson

SDLP Leader Mark Durkan slammed a statement issued this evening by the DUP's Peter Robinson. Mr Durkan accused Robinson of prejudging the Executive meeting scheduled for tomorrow and of seeking to reshape events to suit personal political priorities.

Robinson claimed that Margaret Ritchie "rushed to make her statement without keeping the conditions set out by the executive."

He added: "Before she made her statement the minister was warned by officials she would be breaching the ministerial code but chose to dismiss the advice. Under the new ministerial code every minister is bound by executive decisions and must act in accordance with those decisions. The ministerial code has statutory authority. The DSD minister has therefore breached the ministerial code."

However the Leader of the SDLP commented: "We had hoped that following the extraordinary scenes in the Assembly yesterday, Mr Robinson might have taken the time to reflect on his approach and pull back from his attacks on DSD Minister Margaret Ritchie. Instead, in an unprecedented statement this evening he has sought to rewrite events of recent weeks. He is now attempting to treat tomorrow’s Executive meeting as a kangaroo court against a Minister who has taken a good decision, on good grounds, in good conscience and in accordance with her Pledge of Office."

The Foyle MP added: "One is entitled to wonder whether we are watching him lose the run of himself or something more sinister, but it is nonetheless clear that Minister Robinson is overreaching his responsibilities. He thinks he runs the Executive, he’s trying to run the Civil Service and yesterday he sought to dictate to the Speaker. Mr Robinson’s ambition is well known, but the Prime Minister Peter act cannot be allowed to continue. His message to Margaret Ritchie is ‘don’t do what I do, do what I say'."

"That makes him a hypocrite and a bully. We await with interest to see whether Margaret Ritchie is the only Minister prepared to challenge his power grab.

"The events of recent days raise a number of serious political, procedural and constitutional questions. While others seek to create smokescreens and divert attention from these questions, the SDLP remains focussed and will be seeking answers in the days to come."

The DUP's behaviour on this issue is extremely bizarre. Why are they getting so worked up about the cutting of funding for this UDA-linked project? I thought the DUP was supposed to be the party of justice and the rule of law. They certainly didn't let the provos away with much while they held onto their guns.

The attempts by the DUP to score political points on this issue are disgraceful. Margaret Ritchie made the right decision. The public backs her. Let's hope this blows up in the face of the DUP like, well, a UDA bomb.


Oakleaf said...

Elamt on a wider issue do you not think statement from Durkan smacks off I'll get my da to you. If Durkan wants to mix it with the big boys maybe he should have taken the job himself. His frustration at not being in the executive can be seen written all over this statement.

IMO he made a monumental msitake in not taking the job because for intents and ppurposes he is completely sidelined and his authority ic completely undermined. No way to rebuild a party. I know I am biased but think about the issue not the whos saying it. No need for a response.

Democratic-Centre said...

To be fair, Mark Durkan and possibly Naomi Long seem to be the sharpest MLAs in the NI Assembly. Some of Durkan's quotes have been superb over the years.

It's a case of hang on in there, the arrogance of protest-politics will soon serve to be its own undoing.