Northern Ireland news

TUV leader Jim Allister calls on Secretary of State Karen Bradley to 'get on with it' and impose direct rule

TUV leader Jim Allister has called on the Secretary of State to "get on with it" and impose direct rule without delay. Picture by Mal McCann

TUV leader Jim Allister has called on Secretary of State Karen Bradley to "get on with it" and impose direct rule.

Speaking at his party's annual conference in Cookstown, Mr Allister said that direct rule from London was preferable to "no rule" or "Sinn Féin rule". The devolved institutions have been suspended since January 2017.

"I say to the Secretary of State - get on with it lady, it's time to bring us government," he said.

The 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement - which was marked on Tuesday - was a "celebration of failure", the former DUP MEP said, adding that it was ironic that those who had campaigned against the deal are now its "chief implementer".

Dismissing mandatory power-sharing at Stormont as a "dysfunctional government" and "unworkable", Mr Allister urged the DUP leader Arlene Foster to use her influence with the Conservative Party to bring about a return to direct rule.

"Mandatory coalition ensures there can be no government without Sinn Féin and this has created the politics of ransom....trying to patch together a system that will never work is utter folly," he added.

Mr Allister said that Brexit was now "more important" than devolution and added that there could be "no pandering" to Brussels or "aggressive Dublin".

The TUV leader re-iterated unionist demands that all parts of the UK leave on the same terms, accusing the Irish government of attempting to create a border in the Irish Sea which would never be accepted.

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