Following a very weak performance at the recent Assembly Elections, the SDLP have decided to do something dramatic to reverse their ailing fortunes.
Today I have written to the Speaker of the Assembly to confirm that the SDLP will now be the Official Opposition to the deadlock and division of the Stormont administration.
People were promised change in May’s election. As an Opposition, that’s what our team will deliver.
— Colum Eastwood 🇺🇦 (@columeastwood)
Party leader Colum Eastwood said he has formally nominated South Belfast assembly member Matthew O’Toole to lead the opposition.
Mr O’Toole has encouraged other parties, particularly the Alliance Party and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), to join the SDLP in forming an opposition.
“Our opposition to the politics of division and deadlock which has infected Stormont is about transforming this place and the lives of all its citizens. And my appeal to others is that if you’ve had enough of the failure, then join us. We can build something much better together,” he said.
Under provisions agreed by the Stormont parties for an official opposition the SDLP can expect to receive about £60,000 to be spent on research plus £20,000 for the operation of a whips’ office.
The party will also gain extra speaking rights in the Assembly chamber and will be the first in line to question ministers.
It will also be entitled to hold the chair of the key scrutiny body the Public Accounts Committee and it will be able to set the agenda in the Assembly for 10 days per year.
On the face of it, it looks like a sensible move. It gives them a clear position on which to attack the DUP/Sinn Fein. It will also push the DUP/Sinn Fein closer together in the eyes of the public.
But then will it make Sir Jeff even less likely to want to join Michelle?
We are heading into uncertain times. I would rather be the opposition kicking the sh*te out of the government than being on the receiving end of the kicks.
I help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff.