Making politics work

by Gerry Adams MP

Three years ago in November 2003, 108 successful candidates were elected to the Legislative Assembly at Stormont. That Assembly has never met. On 15 May, these members will gather there, at the call of the British Secretary of State, Peter Hain. But the Assembly summoned together by Peter Hain is not the Assembly to which these MLAs were elected. It is not the Assembly contained in the Good Friday Agreement. Instead of convening that Assembly, Peter Hain recently introduced legislation at Westminster. This allows for the recall of Assembly Members on a different basis than that set out in the Good Friday Agreement. The legislation provides for an Assembly period between 15 May and the end of June in which to form an Executive. If that does not happen, a further period after the summer recess has been set, ending on 25 November. Although the two governments have declared that the primary purpose is the appointment of the Executive, the legislation authorises the British Secretary of State to allow other business to be conducted. The Assembly’s rules have also been changed.

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