Northern Ireland

Alliance leader says government had 'one hand tied in NI talks'

Naomi Long
Image caption Naomi Long was speaking at her party's annual conference in Belfast

Alliance leader Naomi Long has said the government has given the impression it has had one hand tied behind its back during the Stormont talks, due to its dependence on the DUP.

She said that Westminster should legislate on contentious issues while MLAs sit in a shadow NI assembly.

Under a confidence and supply deal, the DUP agree to back the Conservatives in key votes.

But they are not tied into supporting them on other measures.

Mrs Long told her party's annual conference in Belfast that Alliance was "absolutely determined to play a positive role in getting devolution restored".

"Alliance remains convinced only fully inclusive multi-party talks, chaired by an independent facilitator, can re-establish trust between the parties and hold them to account, privately and publicly, for their actions," she said.

"They also provide the only prospect of delivering an inclusive Executive.

" We have proposed transitional Assembly arrangements, running in parallel with the talks, as a step towards the restoration of full devolution.

"To be clear, we want no part in any talking shop: we do not need yet another arena in which MLAs cut lumps out of each other for sport.

"We need to start taking back responsibility."

Northern Ireland has been without a functioning executive since January 2017.

Subsequent talks have failed to restore the power-sharing executive.

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