UK news The weekly political spin: Poots voted DUP leader, Brexit minister meeting and the climate change debate last news
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PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "MONDAY The week kicked off with Edwin Poots setting out his stall for the job of DUP leader, vowing to end reactionary policy making."We can no longer sustain the ad hoc approach that has been a feature of recent years, with policy on the hoof and little regard to the wishes of the elected members who have to believe in and defend the policies of the party," he wrote in his manifesto.During a debate on Northern Ireland’s first climate change bill in the Assembly, former nuclear submarine captain Steve Aiken acknowledged that he would seem an unlikely candidate to be an "eco-warrior".He said that, while working in the Arctic while he was in the Navy, he observed a 1,000-year-old sea of ice. When he returned to the area a few years later “that ice had gone”.Jim Allister revealed to no one's surprise that he isn't a fan of the bill, pointing to its potential impact on the agri-food sector.“I am saying that the answer is not to take 50% of our animals and slaughter them or to take 50% of our production and export it to the depleting rainforests of Brazil and then sit back smugly and say, ‘Didn't we do well?' That is the ethos of the Bill," he said in the chamber."People, much as [DUP MLA Jim Wells] might not like it, will continue to buy meat. Do they buy the meat produced in north Antrim or the meat produced on land that has been stripped in the Amazon basin? That is an issue that politicians in the Western world have to consider."Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs took issue with the emission targets in the bill, including a goal of zero emissions by 2045. He said they are set over a compressed time frame and go way beyond UK Climate Change Committee targets.Green Party leader Clare Bailey, who tabled the bill, interjected. "Does the member realise that his party's manifesto commits to net zero by 2035, which is much faster and a much more compressed time frame?" she said."I believe that that was a Westminster manifesto," Mr Beggs replied.At a press conference addressing his resignation as UUP leader, Mr Aiken was asked which task was harder, commanding a nuclear submarine or leading the UUP. He wryly remarked: "I think I'll plead the fifth on that one."TUESDAYThe climate change debate continued into Tuesday, with Jim Wells rounding on the Environment Minister, and his party colleague, Edwin Poots, over his opposition to the bill."Why are we giving planning permission for peat extraction and the development of peatlands when they have so much potential to store carbon? Why has the department not completed the area of special scientific interest, special protection area and special area of conservation designations?" he said."The [conservation] Act came in in 1985, and I am able to tell him how long ago that was because I was in the chamber when it passed. Here we are, 36 years later, and we still have not completed our [Areas of Special Scientific Interest] designation."Alliance's Kellie Armstrong said: "I thank the proposers of the motion; it is an important debate. I will have to recommend myself for disciplinary action because I find myself agreeing with Mr Wells far too much.""Oh no," replied Mr Wells.Sinn Fein's Jemma Dolan raised a point of order later on in the chamber, saying she had secured an adjournment debate - a way of enabling the House to have a debate on a subject without considering a substantive motion - two weeks ago, but Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon released a statement on the same issue on Tuesday morning."That undermines the role of MLAs and the authority of the chamber to hold ministers to account. I ask the Speaker's Office to look into this to see whether proper procedure and protocol were followed," she said.Speaker Alex Maskey sympathised: "I say directly to the minister that, having seen that her statement was issued a number of hours ago, in advance of the adjournment debate that was scheduled for this afternoon in the order paper, I can understand why a member would feel aggrieved."It is not for me to judge why that happened, but I will write to the Executive again because I want to make sure that ministers reflect on when they issue statements, particularly on sitting days and when the minister is scheduled to come to a particular debate to make a statement."WEDNESDAYA potential sign of things to come was aired on Wednesday, when Edwin Poots no-showed a North/South ministerial agriculture meeting.
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. "Powersharing requires leadership," she tweeted.It emerged Brexit minister Lord Frost and Secretary of State Brandon Lewis were in Northern Ireland on Monday meeting with the Loyalist Communities Council - but no one seemed to notice at the time.Independent MLA Trevor Lunn asked a Stormont official if she knew Lord Frost was visiting.“It wasn’t wholly unexpected, but I wasn’t aware of the date in advance,” responded the official.Mr Lunn said: "I think they must have smuggled him in and smuggled him out again."When the Assembly's Economy Committee heard from Minister Diane Dodds on Wednesday, questions were raised around her own future.As she outlined her post-pandemic economic recovery plan Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson noted she might not be Economy Minister much longer.Edwin Poots has committed to reshuffling the DUP's ministerial team."How do you see your successor, or a future mandate, taking forward your economy plan?," Mr Dickson asked.Mrs Dodds replied: “What I do or I don't do after this week or next week will be for the party leader and that is fine with me."THURSDAYThursday saw a meeting of the Health Committee, with members briefed on the topic of gambling addiction.Sinn Fein's Colm Gildernew said he was “taken aback” before the pandemic to learn that one in 10 suicides “are linked to gambling addiction”.He asked an official if there were any plans to develop services to tackle the problem, to which the official replied: "There are no specific gambling addiction services."Nothing much gets past TUV leader Jim Allister. This week he received an answer to questions around why Union flags flown at Stormont to mark the birthday of Queen Elizabeth on April 21 were lowered before sunset. In a written response the Assembly Commission said the flags were lowered at 5.55pm, ahead of the closure of the Assembly at 6pm, with restricted opening hours during the coronavirus pandemic. Previously the flags would have flown until just before 8pm.FRIDAYIt was a monumental day for unionism, with the DUP voting for their new leader. Outside party HQ in Belfast, Jim Wells was asked about the possibility of Sir Jeffrey Donaldson running as an MLA in his constituency in the next Assembly election.Mr Wells said Sir Jeffrey previously represented North Down and still has a lot of family there, however he is glad the Donaldsons on the electoral register voted for him the last time round."He hasn't gone away, you know," he added.Alas, it was not be for Sir Jeffrey's leadership ambitions, as he fell by two votes to Edwin Poots. The Agriculture Minister said during his acceptance speech he wanted to reach out to other unionists.Other unionists, it seems, aren't going to give him an easy ride. Within minutes of the white smoke emerging from DUP HQ, outgoing Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken issued a statement calling for answers over the DUP's Brexit dealings."Why did Edwin and ALL his colleagues endorse Boris Johnson’s proposals on October 2, 2019 for a regulatory border in the Irish Sea?" Mr Aiken asked.“Why did Edwin and ALL his colleagues endorse Boris Johnson’s proposals on October 2, 2019 for border inspection posts to be establish at Northern Ireland’s ports?"Why did Edwin and ALL his colleagues endorse Boris Johnson’s proposals that all goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain must comply with EU rules and therefore be subject to the ongoing remit of the EU court?"Good luck, Edwin."
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