Page last updated at 07:56 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Double jobbing 'on borrowed time'

From Democracy Live: debate on double jobbing

The Ulster Unionists have failed to win assembly agreement to end double jobbing by MLAs by 2011.

Ulster Unionist MLA David McNarry said it was no longer in order for assembly members to also sit as MPs.

But the DUP won Monday evening's debate in the NI Assembly with its amendment to phase out the practice by 2015 by 34 votes to 23.

During the discussion, Ulster Unionists and the DUP charged one another with hypocrisy over double jobbing.

The DUP said the Ulster Unionists were happy enough to sit in Westminster and the assembly when it had plenty of MPs.


Speaking in support of the Ulster Unionists, the PUP leader Dawn Purvis said there was no reason not to end the practice by the end of this assembly term.

"I think the extent to which this assembly has debated the issue of multiple mandates without actually doing anything about it is comical," she said.

"I agree wholly with the authors of this motion that multiple mandates need to come to an end by the 2011 assembly elections and that the political parties in this province need to start preparing for that deadline."

During the debate, Sinn Fein questioned how the Ulster Unionist Health Minister Michael McGimpsey could claim to be too busy battling swine flu to attend assembly debates when he continued to sit on Belfast council.

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