Colum Eastwood: New DUP Leader can’t be allowed to choreograph collapse of institutions at Stormont

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood says the next DUP leader must not be allowed to 'choreograph the collapse of the institutions at Stormont.'

Monday, 21st June 2021, 12:02 pm
Colum Eastwood

He was speaking as the largest unionist party in the north continued with the process of appointing a new leader following the resignation of Edwin Poots on Thursday.

Nominations for the position close at noon on Tuesday ahead of a meeting to elect a new leader on Saturday.

The Foyle MP's comments follow weekend reports that Paul Givan has been instructed by DUP officers to resign as First Minister.

Mr. Eastwood said: "With the imminent resignation of their First Minister, it is increasingly clear that the DUP are positioning themselves to manufacture another political crisis that will once again threaten our local institutions. In a desperate attempt to stabilise their own party, they are recklessly prepared to destabilise devolution."

He said no party should be prepared to collapse local government in the middle of a pandemic.

“The public are long since tired and fed up with a familiar pattern of constant crisis that has come to define an Executive led by the DUP and Sinn Féin for 14 years. The truth is that many of the dramas and divisions at Stormont bear no reflection and give no representation to people's real priorities.

"I believe people across Northern Ireland have rarely been more united in their desire for political leaders to focus on their real priorities - coming through the pandemic and tackling the real crisis of hospital waiting lists.

“For all its many flaws, I still think people know that we are much better off if we work together through devolution to deliver on those priorities. The terrible and almost unthinkable alternative would be handing direct rule powers to Boris Johnson and the Tories."