Threat of legal action over cuts highlights need for a seperate NI Centre Right Party

A Government with no parliamentary representation in Northern Ireland may look as though it has nothing to lose politically if it implements policies that people here will not like – such as cutting the presently scheduled financial provision for the Northern Ireland Government.  Perhaps, but what if it could lose in the law courts?

 That was the threat made yesterday by Peter Robinson in “the Politics Show.” 

Peter Robinson’s case is that when St. Andrews was agreed, the Government made a legal commitment, ostensibly to pump whatever money was required to retain public services.  The offending wording is to be found in Annex C of the St. Andrews Agreement, which reads as follows:

“In the context of restoration of the institutions” St Andrews says “the Governments remain committed to ensuring the Executive has the capacity to provide quality public services, to continue the process of necessary reform, to plan for the future, to make the long-term capital investments to underpin the economic transformation of Northern Ireland, as well as bringing long-term benefits for the island as a whole.”

Shortly thereafter, the Government produced its financial package

If this becomes a legally contentious issue, a Court would be required to try and work out the intention of the parties from the wording of the agreement.  Did the Government intend to bind itself legally, over the medium term, to prop up Northern Ireland’s public spending commitments?

As I read it, the words “remain committed to ensuring” are the crucial words.  Do they mean the same thing as “will ensure that?”  It looks to me more like a snap-shot in time of the Government’s commitment four years ago rather than a longer term commitment. 

I would not like to be the lawyer that advises the Government or the Northern Ireland Executive but Peter Robinson is absolutely right to use the legal card in the best interests of Northern Ireland.  Whichever way you look at it, the Government will not want the matter to go to court.  It looks to me like leverage and it may turn out to be an Ace of trumps in the DUP’s political hand.

This issue also highlights the need for the Conservatives in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to form separate political parties for the regions.  Otherwise, one day, we could have Conservative politicians in the Executive facing an exceptionally damaging political conflict of interest.

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This entry was posted in Economy, Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Centre-Right, Northern Ireland economy, Northern Ireland politics, Owen Paterson, Peter Robinson, Scottish Conservative Party, St. Andrews Agreement, Stormont, UK Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Threat of legal action over cuts highlights need for a seperate NI Centre Right Party

  1. Cuthbert B Blue says:

    Surely separate political parties for the regions perpetuates the detachment of these areas from being able to contribute to a national govt. Is this not one of the main reasons we flounder about politically, frustrated with parochial politics? Separate parties are what we have!

    • Seymour Major says:

      Errata,

      You have made a valid point (about equal citizenship) but I have addressed that already elsewhere on this blog.

      The independent centre right party that I have proposed would be independent in relation to regional matters but in alliance with the Conservative Party on national matters handled by the UK Parliament. This model has been commonly described by me and other bloggers (for example Andrew G) as the CDU/CSU model

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