NI: Wednesday deadline to Justice Minister appointment

NI: Wednesday deadline to Justice Minister appointment

MLAs have until Wednesday to choose a Justice Minister or the Northern Ireland Assembly will dissolve for a new election.

The Executive Office, in response to online speculation, has clarified that there is no way under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 or the Justice Act 2010 for two people to jointly hold the role and a non-MLA cannot be nominated.

Alliance leader David Ford served as Justice Minister from the creation of the post until this year’s election.

It was widely speculated before the election that he would be replaced with his party colleague Stephen Farry, but Alliance has said it will not nominate someone to the role without the DUP and Sinn Féin accepting certain proposals from the Alliance manifesto.

Representatives from the Green Party have met with the First Minister and deputy First Minister, but are believed to have even greater conditions for entering the Executive.

Claire Sugden, the independent unionist MLA for East Londonderry, was named by the Belfast Telegraph as a prospective candidate with cross-community support.

In an interview for today’s edition of the paper, Ms Sugden said: “I am aware of all the speculation, but I honestly haven’t given it too much serious consideration. There are so many factors to be considered. First and foremost is how it would affect my constituents.

“I did not stand for election thinking that I would become a minister. I am a public servant, and I see my job as a politician. That and my constituents will influence any decision I make if I am offered the post.”

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