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Deal includes plans to cut number of Stormont MLAs

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers and the Republic's Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan at Stormont House. Picture by Ann McManus

AS well as plans to tackle the impasse on welfare reform, paramilitarism and flags and symbols, the 'Fresh Start' deal also put forward proposals in several other areas:

- cutting the number of assembly members from six to five per constituency in time for the 2021 assembly election

- the establishment of a 'compact civic advisory panel' of experts - a watered-down version of the previous civic forum - which will submit reports to the executive on 'two issues' every year

- that petitions of concern on assembly motions should 'only be tabled in exceptional circumstances'

- the establishment of an official opposition

- a reduction in the number of Executive departments from 12 to nine

- improvements to how public consultations are handled

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