UK government proposes pay cuts for Northern Ireland lawmakers

UK government proposes pay cuts for Northern Ireland lawmakers


The UK government presented bill on Monday to slash the salaries of lawmakers in Northern Ireland, where power-sharing has been paralyzed by a post-Brexit trade row.

The bill, which also extends the deadline for an executive branch to be formed in Belfast, proposes a cut in salaries by more than a quarter while the devolved body is dormant.

“At present (Members of the Legislative Assembly) are unable to carry out the full range of their duties so it is right that we are taking steps to reduce their salaries,” said British Foreign Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris.

“I urge the Northern Ireland parties to use this extended time to come together and look after the interests of all people in Northern Ireland,” he added.

The assembly has been paralyzed since February following the withdrawal of its main pro-British party, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Under a 1998 peace accord that ended decades of sectarian violence against British rule in Northern Ireland, power must be shared between a pro-British trade union party and a pro-Irish nationalist party.

The DUP is boycotting the executive branch despite the May elections and the October 28 deadline for new elections if no executive branch has been formed.

It wants the Northern Ireland Protocol, which effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the European single market and customs union despite the UK’s exit from the bloc, to be revised or scrapped altogether.

Postponing another election to March at the earliest is intended to give London and Brussels more time to settle their differences over protocol.

Both the EU and bloc member Ireland have indicated a deal could be reached within weeks.

However, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly last week warned against overestimating the speed at which an agreement could be reached.

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