Mallon: British Government Must Come Clean on Secret Meetings with the DUP
The SDLP Deputy Leader said:
“Despite the showcase of ‘all-party’ talks being presented to the public by the DUP, Sinn Fein and the British and Irish Governments, the truth is, the public and all other political parties are being locked out of secret talks - meanwhilepatients awaiting operations, school children, families in desperate need of a home and local businesses are left to suffer without a government. It is a farce.
“But the secrecy doesn’t stop there. The DUP and British Government are having their own set of secret meetings through what they have termed the “co-ordination committee” to deal with their confidence and supply deal. All they have been willing to share is two short notes of two meetings of this committee which are deliberately empty of any detail. We have no other information as to what is going on behind closed doors. It’s not good enough.
“The DUP continue to tell us that they have secured £1 billion for our economy and yet this mystery money made no appearance in the budgetary outlook published for next year. Public services are on their knees, patients are waiting longer for treatment at hospitals, road standards are deteriorating and more cuts are to face key sectors.
"The DUP and Sinn Fein have already missed the Head of the Civil Service's deadline to deal with budget pressures. So where is the money? What exactly is happening at these meetings and how regularly is the British Government engaging in these cosy secret meetings with the DUP?
“It's time for the British Government to come clean. Instead of paying mere lip service about their commitment to the North and to power sharing – they need to take responsibility for the fact that this toxic relationship is playing a big part in destabilising progress here.
"Politics is already seen as self-serving and toxic without these multiple layers of secrecy. The public deserve to know exactly what’s going on behind the doors of Number 10, the SDLP won't let it go unchallenged."