SDLP table Stormont recall petition to put pressure on DUP amid third reading of Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

A petition to recall the Northern Ireland Assembly has been tabled on Wednesday evening by the SDLP.

he party said their MLAs have taken the action following the progression of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which passed its third reading at Westminster and will now go to the House of Lords.

A previous recall in May brought by Sinn Fein failed to elect a new Speaker and thus establish the institutions, after the DUP refused to vote in its favour.

At the time the DUP said it would not agree to a new Speaker until its issues with the Northern Ireland Protocol were addressed.

Last week, leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said his party will return to the institutions at Stormont and confirmed he will serve as deputy First Minister if the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill passes through Westminster.

The SDLP said they were prepared to “test the DUP’s commitment to the devolved institutions”.

Such a petition would require the support of 30 Stormont MLAs in order to be successful.

“More than 75 days since an Assembly election where people were promised change, all that they’ve got is more of the same division and deadlock at Stormont,” SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said.

“There has never been any justification for a boycott of the devolved institutions. The crisis that people are facing is hurting nationalists, unionists and everyone else equally.

“Now that the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill is set, unfortunately, to receive its third reading in the House of Commons, Jeffrey Donaldson’s paper thin excuses for collapsing the Assembly have evaporated.

“That is why the SDLP has this afternoon tabled an Assembly Recall Petition to test the integrity of the DUP and provide an opportunity to restore Stormont by electing a Speaker.”

Mr Eastwood added: “Jeffrey Donaldson is running out of road. He cannot continue to hold our people to ransom while he plays power games in London.

“With energy, fuel and food prices soaring, wages stagnating and public services on the brink, we need Stormont working now.

“The SDLP, as the Opposition to the division and deadlock that has gripped Stormont, will provide an opportunity for MLAs to get back to work.”

The DUP has been approached for comment.

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