Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 16:25 UK

DUP 'double-jobbers' to step down

Peter Robinson
DUP leader Peter Robinson said some MPs would stand down as MLAs

Some "double-jobbing" DUP MPs will not contest the next assembly election, party leader Peter Robinson has said.

Mr Robinson said some assembly members would also give up their council posts, with more to follow later.

The DUP is also proposing the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister be reformed and possibly renamed.

Ulster Unionist assembly member John McAllister welcomed the double-jobbing move, but asked why it involved only "some MPs" and which ones would it be.

"It also raises the question of why the DUP voted against UUP proposals on double-jobbing only two months ago (in the assembly)," he said.

In a policy document, the DUP also proposed efficiency measures including the merger of the Equality, Human Rights and Children's Commissions.

It wants to halt recruitment to the Civil Service and abolish both the Parades Commission and the Civic Forum, an appointed body which has not met for years.

The DUP has long argued for fewer Stormont departments and a smaller assembly of either 72 or 54 members.

MPs who are also MLAs currently get their full Westminster salary and a third of their Stormont salary.

The next assembly election is due in two years' time. About two-thirds of the 108-strong Assembly are currently sitting councillors.

Reform

In its document, Driving Forward a Reform Agenda, the party proposes that the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister should be revamped in the future, and possibly be renamed the Department of the Executive.

It suggests that the joint office, currently headed by Mr Robinson and Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, could eventually become redundant.

The party says the concept was designed to ensure both sides of the community could have confidence in the fledging institutions.

It says that, over time, with greater policy stability and community cohesion and Northern Ireland's constitutional position further cemented, such safeguards would no longer be needed.

The DUP also suggested that enforced coalition and cross-community voting could eventually end.



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