British Direct Ruler Karen Bradley has been accused of subverting democracy after postponing Stormont elections for up to ten months while prioritising the interests of unionists during Brexit.
New legislation introduced by Bradley at Westminster includes new provisions for direct rule of the north of Ireland from London. It will also postpone any attempt at reviving the political process in the North well into next year, when Brexit will have taken effect.
It means that the Six Counties will probably be without an assembly for two-and-a-half years, despite the continuation of salary payments to the politicians elected to Stormont in March 2017. It also means the next elections in the North of Ireland will probably be the local government elections in May.
Bradley’s vague new legislation allows British civil servants to take decisions which are “in the public interest” of the Six Counties. Because it stops short of full, explicit Direct Rule, it leaves Stormont departments open to legal challenges as to the extent of their powers.
The main goal of the legislation appears to be to neutralise nationalists amid ongoing concessions to the unionist DUP, who still prop up the minority Tory government at Westminster.
This week, the Guardian newspaper reported the British Direct Ruler as defending Brexit on the basis that 60% of the North’s unionists voted to leave the EU -- ignoring the fact that the Six Counties rejected Brexit overall by 56% to 44%.
Bradley is also quoted as warning that much of what the EU have put forward in regard to the border through Ireland is ‘not acceptable’ to unionists and the British government.
“This is not the first time Karen Bradley has caused controversy with her comments on voting intentions in the north but it is the first time she has made such a public admission of her government’s intention to prioritise unionism,” Sinn Fein Conor Murphy said.
“In doing so, she is doing a disservice to everyone in this society by attempting to make Brexit a green and orange issue.
“Karen Bradley is supposed to be a co-equal guarantor of the peace process who is legally and duty-bound to act with impartiality yet here she is publicly stating that it is only the votes of unionists that matter.
“Never mind the fact that the majority across the North as a whole voted against Brexit. Never mind the fact that nationalists overwhelmingly opposed it, this British Government is quite prepared to subvert democracy in order to pursue its reckless agenda.
“Karen Bradley’s government is in a pact with the DUP and has acquiesced to that party’s refusal to share power on the basis of equality.
“And with these comments, the British secretary of State has clearly indicated that her government will continue to prioritise unionist votes over equality and the rights of citizens.”