Long: SOS now needs to listen on the issue of reform

Alliance Leader Naomi Long has said she is glad the Secretary of State has listened regarding the folly in holding another Assembly election, adding he now needed to go further and recognise real reform of the institutions is urgently needed.

Naomi Long

Mrs Long was speaking after Chris Heaton Harris announced the previously expected Assembly election would now no longer go ahead before Christmas, while the focus of the 12 week deadline now moves to mid December.

She said: “Alliance has been clear, an election changes absolutely nothing. History has shown that when elections are carried out in these circumstances they only serve to deepen divisions and allow new so-called red lines to emerge. This is simply not acceptable and I welcome the Secretary of State’s decision to listen and continue to engage with local voices.

“However we have also been clear. Our Government cannot be allowed to continue in this cycle of dysfunction – allowing one Party to bring us to a standstill.

“It’s time to end ransom politics. The Secretary of State has listened so far on the issue of elections, he now needs to listen to Alliance on the issue of reform. It is the only way to deliver effective Government and much-needed, lasting stability for the people of Northern Ireland.

“And while the full threat of an election still remains, I would urge the DUP to use this time to think of the impact they are having on local people – on those struggling with the cost of living crisis and those caught up in the failing health service. Their shameful boycott has to end.”