Ending ban on dual mandates for Northern Ireland MPs ‘important for unionism’, say DUP

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has said that ending the ban on Northern Ireland MPs running for election as an MLA is “important for unionism”.

Last week the government announced the plans, which will allow MPs elected for Northern Irish constituencies to seek election to the NI legislature in Stormont. s Those elected as both an MP and MLA would not receive two salaries, and the new rules would apply only until 2024.

Donaldson told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme earlier today that the change would be a positive for unionism, and that if passed he would consider standing as an MLA.

He explained: “I think there is a case to be made at this particular time in the current circumstances of Northern Ireland. It is important for unionism to have a strong voice in the parliament of the United Kingdom.”

Donaldson denied claims that all eight DUP MPs would seek to become MLAs in May’s elections.

The four other main parties in Northern Ireland Power-sharing executive – Sinn Féin, the SDLP, the UUP and the Alliance party – all oppose the plans.

Northern Ireland’s legislature remains embroiled in debate as Sir Jeffrey has reiterated his threat to collapse Stormont if the Irish Sea border is not removed.

The UK government has frequently warned that it could trigger Article 16 to suspend elements of the Northern Ireland protocol if progress is not made, with its chief negotiator Lord Frost quitting last month as negotiations appeared to reach an impasse.

The triggering of Article 16 would allow parts of the controversial deal to be unilaterally suspended.