Rule change passed at Belfast council

Published Tuesday, 24 May 2011
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Top jobs at Belfast City Council will be allocated by party strength rather than on political groupings, after a motion to change standing orders was passed on Tuesday.

The move was proposed by the SDLP, Sinn Féin and Alliance party, after the DUP, UUP and independent unionists grouped together in a bid to become the largest bloc on the council.

Parties voted at City Hall on Tuesday to change the standing order, which means committees must now be allocated on the basis of party strength and their number of councillors.

The largest party on the council are Sinn Féin with 16 representatives. The DUP are second with 15, followed by the SDLP with eight, Alliance with six and the UUP with three.

Robin Newton, who represents the DUP's city council team, has accused the other parties of "conspiring" to keep unionists out of top positions.

"Alliance has conspired with the nationalist parties to exclude unionists from the top positions in the council," he said.

"I will not attempt to hide my disappointment that the unionist people of Belfast have been treated like second-class citizens by the Alliance and their friends in Sinn Féin and the SDLP."

However the SDLP's Tim Attwood has welcomed the move, which he said is "fair" and better represents the will of the electorate.

"On 5 May the people of Belfast spoke and voted for political parties to represent them in City Hall," he said.

"The decision by council now means committees will be allocated fairly on the basis of a party's electoral strength based on proportionality.

"The SDLP was opposed to the attempt to carve up positions in City Hall. The reality is the unionist parties in City Hall were trying to secure a political advantage for the unionist group on Council. This decision means every political party on council will get their fair allocation of positions."

© UTV News
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8 Comments
Chris in abroad wrote (1,278 days ago):
"Robin Newton, who represents the DUP's city council team, has accused the other parties of "conspiring" to keep unionists out of top positions." "I will not attempt to hide my disappointment that the unionist people of Belfast have been treated like second-class citizens by the Alliance and their friends in Sinn Féin and the SDLP." I guess it's pretty rough when the shoe's on the other foot. Looks like Newton has a relatively short (and selective) memory.
davy in belfast wrote (1,279 days ago):
why is baby carrots posting in a orish
Stuart in Belfast wrote (1,279 days ago):
There is no union withinn Unionism, this is all their own fault. There should only be one Unionist party, wake up now!
Brendan in Lisburn wrote (1,279 days ago):
Well said John, couldnt agree more, if they aren't sitting on the fence then Alliance will always side with the pan nationalists.Another term of cheap, spoiling tactics by this fringe party
James in Belfast wrote (1,280 days ago):
So it was ok for the 2 unionist party's to form a pact but when other party's do it it's sectarian? Haha talk about double standards.
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