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Colum Eastwood: Irish and British governments should jointly run north

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said the Irish and British governments could jointly rule the north. Picture by Mal McCann

THE Irish and British governments should jointly run the north if power-sharing collapses, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said last night.

Mr Eastwood told The Irish News that British ministers should not be allowed to rule on their own.

“If post-election an Executive cannot be formed the only acceptable deal for the nationalist community is joint authority," he said.

The Foyle MLA said he would make this case when he meets senior representatives from the Republic's main parties in Dublin tomorrow.

Joint authority was mooted decades ago as part of a political solution to the Troubles but was always firmly rejected by unionists and opposed by many British politicians including Margaret Thatcher.

Mr Eastwood claimed that if an Executive cannot be formed the "balance of voices between the two traditions... can only be served through joint authority".

“British direct rule would mean we are at the mercy of a hard-Brexit, British government. Joint authority will mean we have a voice at the Brexit table."

His comments came as Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams appeared to rule out the prospect of an eleventh hour nomination on Tuesday to replace Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister ahead of the triggering of an assembly poll.

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