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Double Jobs and Soldiers

Mark Devenport | 22:08 UK time, Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A late night for our MLAs. The debate on Dawn Purvis's bill banning MLAs serving as councillors was as rumbustious as could have been predicted. Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists backed Ms Purvis's measure. However the DUP and Alliance voiced opposition, preferring political parties to phase ther practice out on their own. The DUP accused others of hypocrisy, particularly concentrating on the SDLP whose 3 MPs have yet to relinquish their Stormont roles (even though this bill dealt with council, not Wesminster double jobbing).

As Dawn Purvis summed up, she talked about Mr Girvan's contribution, only to find the DUP wondering why she was referring to an MLA not present. Ah, it was the old Givan/Girvan chestnut again.

In the end the bill proceeded with one amendment building in a 60 day delay to a ban on a politician serving as a councillor. 60 days, that is, after the politician becomes an MLA.

The independent unionist Alan McFarland expressed concern about the DUP standing its "big guns" in council elections only for those well known figures to stand aside for substitutes. The DUP responded by wondering whether Mr McFarland would himself stand in North Down under the umbrella of local "big gun" Lady Sylvia Hermon.

The measure now goes to its further consideration stage - for some bills this is a formality but Dawn Purvis will only believe it when her measure gets what's known as "Royal Assent".

As I write at 22.20 the Ulster Unionist David McNarry is summing up his Armed Forces and Veterans Bill. It's a very different measure from Dawn Purvis's bill, but what both items have in common is that they have been drawn up individual MLAs not by the Executive. Although nationalists expressed reservations, the McNarry bill passed its second stage without a formal vote.


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  • 1. At 08:57am on 13 Oct 2010, notconned wrote:

    How on earth could anyone do so many jobs all at the same time and do them properly?

    power and money?

    cut the corn and see how many would do two or three jobs.

    when you look at the assembly or parliament on the is never usually full unless it is something in the member's interest,like a pay rise or expenses claim.

    the rt hon??????

    ex d.u.p

    not d.u.p-ed

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  • 2. At 10:16am on 13 Oct 2010, harryatport wrote:

    congratulation to Dawn Purvis for her private members bill, its about time. It is no surprise to see who objected to it and Alan McFarland is correct ,the Dup will try to win seats next year with their "big Hitter" and then hand over the seat to some clampit who the electorate didnt vote for, oh, oh the craving for power!!!!

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  • 3. At 12:50pm on 13 Oct 2010, thetruthtalker wrote:

    Mark, i know it will cost the taxpayer but the only way to elect anyone is through the ballot box. If someone resigns their seat then an election is the only answer. One question, if Alan McFarland resigns his seat (an Independant) who replaces him?

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  • 4. At 1:22pm on 13 Oct 2010, trevor polley wrote:

    If you can be a shopkeeper and Councillor, a chemist and a councillor, a salesman and a councillor , why not an MLA and a councillor ?

    The SDLP MLA/MP role is hard to defend.

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  • 5. At 10:22am on 14 Oct 2010, YelloSmurf wrote:

    Sleepyu is right. This bill is a complete nonsense.

    Being a councilor is not a full time job and it is not expected to be a full time job. Being a councillor and an MLA is no different to being a councillor and any other job. It is the politicians with two full time jobs who we need to deal with. How can an MLA also be an MP, how can an MP hold a directorship in the city?

    Let's sort the real problem instead of engaging in pointless tokenism.

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  • 6. At 10:08pm on 14 Oct 2010, Stephen Blacker wrote:

    This is a very clever Bill, it will stop individuals having two or more jobs in the different tiers within public life and in turn will eradicate any conflict of interests that would crop up from time to time. This will make everything more accountable and transparent.

    Congratulations must be given to Ms. Purvis for being the first person to get a Private Members Bill to this stage at Stormont.

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