Magee, Brandywell and Northlands projects ‘uncontroversial’ and should proceed without Executive
Colum Eastwood has told Chris Heaton-Harris the expansion of Magee College, the development of the Brandywell and the provision of an addiction centre in Derry, should be able to be funded and proceed despite there being no Executive at Stormont.
The Foyle MP asked the Secretary of State for the north about the proposed developments in the British House of Commons.
The SDLP leader said the three projects were uncontroversial and should progress despite the absence of a power-sharing government in Belfast.
“Does the Secretary of State agree that ‘New Decade, New Approach’ contains many commitments, such as funding the Northlands Addiction Treatment Centre, the Magee university expansion and the Brandywell stadium—all in my constituency—and that in this new context they should not be seen as controversial but should be able to get funded even though we do not have Ministers in the Executive?” he asked.
Mr. Heaton-Harris replied: “The hon. Gentleman is quite right that all these things can happen simultaneously or separately and at different speeds, and have done, but there is also a fundamental issue, which was noted at that time, with the protocol.”
The exchange occurred during the second reading of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Bill.
The bill includes provisions to extend the deadline for the formation of an Executive to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception next week, December 8, and, if no government is formed by then, by a further six weeks to January 19, after which elections must be called unless further legislation is brought forward.