05/03/2017 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Mark Carruthers with news and analysis of the Northern Ireland Assembly election.

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Hello and welcome to an extended Sunday Politics.


The votes have been counted, the new 90-strong Assembly's


been filled and now the blood-letting begins.


The Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has already


His resignation speech includes flash photography.


The electorate disagreed, they did not give me a mind a big enough for


me to feel justified in continuing in this position, so I shall not


continue in this position. And could the DUP leader now be


coming under pressure, too? I'll be asking newly-elected MLAs


from the five big parties what next for Arlene Foster,


and if they believe Stormont can get And we'll also hear from the smaller


parties, the successful Independent Claire Sugden,


and the Secretary of State - and we'll round everything off


with analysis from our Political Editor, Mark Devenport,


number-cruncher Nicholas Whyte and commentators Professor Pete Shirlow


and Patricia MacBride. Well, it was an unprecedented


election for many different reasons - the main one being that


with the nationalist surge and the loss of unionist seats,


there is now no longer a unionist Add in the reduced number of seats -


down from 108 to 90 - and you have a recipe


for major electoral upset. With that in mind, and just


in case you've been hiding in a bunker all weekend,


here's how things played out all through Friday


and into the early hours The DUP remain the biggest party


at Stormont on 28 seats - They only lost one seat -


quite an achievement The SDLP are now the third


largest party, coming back with a dozen seats,


the same number of seats they held Next up - the Ulster Unionists


on ten seats - a total that cost It was a good day for


Alliance as they held The Greens held their two seats,


while the TUV held its single seat, occupied by Jim Allister of course,


while People Before Profit are reduced to a solo seat -


Gerry Carroll in West Beflast. And there's one Independent -


Claire Sugden, the former Justice Minister, who we'll


hear from later. With just a whisker now separating


the DUP and Sinn Fein in terms of seats and votes,


the future shape of devolution and power-sharing will now be


on the negotiation table. My guests will be reflecting on that


in just a moment, but first our Political Correspondent,


Enda McClafferty, has the story We have had dramatic collections


before, but not quite like this. -- elections.


So we now have 18 politicians officially unemployed and looking


for a job, some with lots of experience, and some about. We also


by the weight have jobs vacant seat which now needs to be filled sooner


rather than later. But the real story from the selection is the


power shift at Stormont with unionists for the first time ever no


longer holding the majority. Arlene Foster predicted a brutal campaign


but didn't expect such a brutal result for unionism. This election


was a disaster for unionism, they've lost their overall majority and they


may never regain it. From going from a powerful position only last May,


2016, unionism is in crisis this morning. The DUP lost ten seed,


dropping to 28. And some big names paid the price. Former minister


Nelson McCausland. There is a life beyond politics, and other things I


can do. Is that it now, is at finish? Did I say that? Remember


this? When Arlene Foster was the darling of the DUP in the last


election. Roll the clock forward ten months and another new leader is


entering the spotlight. I think it is amazing, we are delighted, thank


you, you have come out in strong numbers. The vote has increased,


people know action needed to be taken. Sinn Fein's gamble paid off,


as their vote rose by 4%. They sold their selection on hold and resolve


issues of equality and legacy and all the things that have been


blocked by the DUP the many years, and people will be expecting


delivery. There will be a period of grace, where they knew we were going


into negotiations. And if Sinn Fein is to deliver, will it be when


Arlene Foster as business? I think the difficulty is there is now


there's a very firm image, a caricature of her as a hate figure,


someone who is too extreme to do business with nationalism. That is


damaging for her, it helped her in the campaign for the boat, but now


that is a huge difficulty for her. The DUP leader wasn't the only one


feeling the heat. Even before the count ended, Mike Nesbitt knew the


game was up. Losing six seats and falling behind the SDLP in the


political order sealed his fate. For three months I have been criticising


another party leader for not taking responsibility for actions that


occurred on their watch, so it would be the height of hypocrisy about


didn't take full responsibility for the results to date for the Ulster


Unionists. In pure terms, the buck stops here. But he was in the


party's only big casualty. Enoch Powell said our political career


ends in tears. I think I prefer that I am too tired to laugh and too old


to cry. They now have an Assembly team that is very light in terms of


experience, they got no leader, it'll be a challenge to get that in,


and I think, what is the direction for them? What now for the official


opposition? The SDLP had a good election, retaining its trial seeds


of a few familiar faces making a comeback. But it came at a cost,


they no longer have an Assembly boys in west Belfast. I feel much more


for the party and people in the committee then I do for myself --


Assembly voice. Warning signs, where the SDLP was appalled by Sinn Fein.


So can we expect the party to return to the opposition benches? That


remains open to DSL DP, it depends on the nature of any agreement that


is reached between Sinn Fein and the DUP. It was also a good election for


Alliance, as they record of the highest vote in decades. We talked


about what we would do differently and how we would try to re-establish


the Assembly on a different photo where it would be sustainable and


able to deliver. People respond that I connected with the message. The


Green Party held its two seats, and Claire Sugden is also returning. But


for the TUV, it was another election which, failed to convince doubters


to return more than one candidate. And disappointment for People Before


Profit, who lost their seat. This was the election where voters


re-engage the politics, as the turnout was up ten percentage points


on the last poll. So what do voters make the result? I thought it was


grey, the number of women across all the parties and a lot younger


people, so I am trying to be very optimistic, and they hope to get


together and get some deal. It is a shake-up. I think Arlene was wrong


in her attitudes and aggression. And I feel she should have stepped


aside. Unionism is dysfunctional at the moment, it lacks leadership and


direction. Being a DUP voter, I can see it. The focus now switches to


Stormont where tomorrow MLAs will return to face the same challenges


they left behind six weeks ago. They're still the "big five"


parties in political terms, but the distances between them,


and even their order, has changed. I'm joined now by Simon


Hamilton of the DUP, Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy,


Claire Hanna of the SDLP, the Ulster Unionist Robin Swann


and the Alliance leader, Weight you are all very welcome to


the programme. Flank either being here today. Arlene Foster has use to


it weakest position in the history of Northern Ireland, it has lost its


overall majority at Stormont. It was a disappointing election, not just


for the DUP, with the whole unionist family. Let's not forget there were


lots of addictions before the election, many taking place in the


studio, that the DUP's boat would crumble, it went up by 20 5000. We


have had the single biggest vote of any party since the return of the


Assembly back in 1998. Sadly that vote not been converted into more


seats than the 28 we had. But we still have a big mandate, we saw the


biggest party. We have to reflect on the lessons of that election and we


will do it in due course. Your boat was up, but your share was your role


vote was up. You are down 1.1%. Many were saying our vote would go down,


it went up. It went down by 1.1%. How much of the responsibility for


what was a disappointing day, you just said it, it should be put on


Arlene Foster? Gavin Robinson said a bad day be unionism. Not a good day


for the DUP. A bad day at the office. You've got to sit down and


think, we hung the campaign on Hollywood Foster, critics said she


didn't conduct herself well, she made mistakes. You've lost ten


seats. It is disappointing we've lost so many seed, that so many


colleagues and returning. We will look at the lessons of this, we will


reflect on it. Could one of those lessons may be be Arlene Foster


isn't as sure-footed as maybe you thought she was? Absolutely not.


I've known Arlene for many years, she's very capable. You still think


that? She has shown that down the years. She has shown it in her


leadership, not just of the DUP but Northern Ireland. She has my full


support, she has the support of the party and most importantly, she has


the support of 225,000 people across Northern Ireland who voted for the


DUP. They increased the mandate. It hasn't been converted into as many


seats. She also galvanise Republicans, say many. That is why


Sinn Fein did well. Jonathan explainers, Sinn Fein seized an


opportunity that was presented around this. That was the excuse


they use the calling the election, there were many reasons.


There were bigger issues. That is what people... When I was going


around the doors, people realise this was much more than it was about


it. They knew what Sinn Fein was doing, so our vote increase.


Disappointingly that wasn't translated into the number of seeds


we would like. We were expected to lung some -- lose some of the seeds.


You are down to 28, unionism has 44% of the seats in the chamber, where


it used to have more than 50%. This is an important question. Which is


more important... I can't believe you thought it would be a good idea


to go below 50%. That is the first time you've done that since 1921.


You can't tell me it isn't significant. Which is more important


to you, retaining Arlene Foster in a position of leadership as First


Minister or the future of devolved government? If you have to make a


choice, which do you go for? We did set a benchmark, we said it would be


a close election. People mocked those, people laughed at us, said we


were crying wolf. You've made that point. The message coming back to me


in the election, to all of my colleagues and everyone here today,


in spite of the differences we have, people want to see a functioning and


working Assembly delivering for them. I do need you do and this


question, I will tease it out more. Sinn Fein are not prepared to work


with Arlene in an executive, she can continue in her leadership, but they


won't work with as an executive. I'm asking you now, and I want you to be


clear, if that continues to be the case, is it possible, as Gavin


Robinson suggested on the radio last night, that may be Arlene Foster


might just consider stepping aside to allow devolution to be restored?


The God we want to see devolution restored, the working Assembly


delivering -- we want to see devolution restored. It is not the


Sinn Fein to dictate who our nominee is. It is not reasonable to do so.


The DUP could have objective. Gavin Robinson said he wasn't ruling it


out if it was the decision by Arlene Foster, they would back. The party


does support. Should she step aside to make sure the devolution is


restored? No, she shouldn't. She has my support, she has the party's


support and most importantly, she has the support of 225,000 people


who voted for her and the party. It is Arlene or nobody? I want Arlene


to listen to the talks. I want to see her going back into government.


How do you respond to that? If it is the position of the DUP during these


negotiations, life will not be breezed back into the Executive. You


have drawn a line in the sand by saying that Sinn Fein will not work


with Arlene Foster in an Executive this side of the enquiry. That


hasn't changed? When you look at the opening piece of your programme


today, I think we have a recipe for power-sharing. We have power blocs


in the Assembly with an equal basis. We have to get our act together,


ensure that the Assembly and the Executive working. The message


received on the doorstep is all of that but also included that we have


to go back and ensure that it's based on the agreements that were


previously agreed to at the implication of those. You accept the


point that it is nothing to do with Michelle O'Neill or any of the rest


of your Assembly team who leads the DUP? We not dictating who leads the


DUP. But you are deep rating that she will not be First Minister? The


DUP will have two decide... So you are dictating? To continue with


that, if Sinn Fein nominates Arlene Foster as First Minister,, your


leader will not work with her as Deputy First Minister? Sinn Fein


will not support that nomination. So that is a red line as far as Sinn


Fein is concerned? That is an obstacle to devolution. You are


saying, here is Aaron line in the sand, we are not willing to accept


that part of the process. She cannot be First Minister. We were clear on


the doorstep, we were clear during the election, we have a mandate


which just told us, and we said to the people that we would not support


Arlene Foster as joint First Minister. So they should respect


your mandate, but you do not respect hers? The DUP can nominate whoever


they want as First Minister. If they nominate Arlene Foster ahead of the


publication of the RHI report, Sinn Fein will not support that. How do


you respond to that? We're heading into talks and negotiations, had


we've gone through many over the last number of years. Often, people


have said... They say it is impossible to find a way through the


difficulties we face. We will go into those talks in the upcoming


week... But you are not saying there is a line in the sand today that


Arlene Foster would not step aside? You are leaving wiggle room to say,


maybe if necessary during the negotiation, we may submit to what


Sinn Fein is saying if they want to resurrect evolution? We have


received a mandate, a strong mandate which has increased from the last


election, although that has not increased the number of seats. We


are still the leading party within the Assembly, and Arlene has


received that mandate and endorsement of her dealership. I


want to see her not only leading us into the talks to restore


devolution, which is what people want. We don't... I understand that.


You make that point. We want to get devolution back up and running. I


will make this point. As I said at the start of my interview, there is


a recipe within the Assembly for a stable Assembly and a stable


Executive. We cannot ignore the issues that brought the election


about, alleged corruption at the heart of government. There is in


competent at the heart of government. The increased turnout at


the polls shows that the public were very tuned into the discussion.


Final sentence. We cannot have a kind of power-sharing he is talking


about, when you have diktats about who heads up the DUP in government.


We have heard a lot from Sinn Fein over the last couple of weeks. He is


entitled to have a negotiating position. I hear lots coming from


Sinn Fein about respect, but they are not respecting the mandate that


the DUP has received. There are other people at the table who have


mandate as well. Claire Hanna, you had a strong performance in the


SDLP, stronger than people were expecting, perhaps more than you


were expecting. You kept the 12 seats. What do you make of the


difficulties with the two main parties in terms of whether or not


it is going to be possible, giving the positions they have backed


themselves into, it seems to me, whether Stormont can function again


in the short-term? We're sitting without a budget or a Brexit plan.


The two parties beside me did get the largest mandate. Is this a lot


of bluff and bluster this morning? We need to know which of these


issues is red hot and so on. It is fair to say that Arlene Foster was


the name that came up on most of the doorsteps we knocked on. Not in a


positive way? Absolute disrespect for anybody who did not share her


view, whether in Brexit or identity issues. People will take it... Find


it difficult to have her as First Minister. It is up to Arlene Foster


and the DUP. People thought it was worth having an election, and we


hope that they will look at the bigger picture. That is an issue for


that party to decide. Can I ask you this? Would you take a seat in the


Executive? We're going into government in May. We are not up


for, take it or leave it, here are the scraps. You would want to be in


the Executive, that things need to change? Absolutely. Some of the


reforms have become academic in terms of the DUP not being able to


throw petitions of concern around everywhere they want to. In May, and


over the last few years, there were issues we try to bring through the


Executive and put into the programme for government and we were rebuffed


by the two parties, who did not want to negotiate. Secondly, as is well


documented, we did not have access to the same information. Decisions


were made by the two large parties in advance. We are for it but we


will not have the power excluding government that we had for a lot of


the last ten years. Robin Swann, it is fair to say that it was nothing


short of a disaster? I don't fix. We only had three months to work in the


Executive. We were only there for a short amount of time. We were


becoming effective. The voters passed their judgment on Thursday,


and they did not look favourably on the Ulster Unionist Party. And like


it or not, Mike Nesbitt has fallen on his sword. The voters increased


our vote and a percentage vote on Thursday as well. You say he fell on


his sword, but he showed the character of leadership in his


utility, taking the ultimate decision, he said the buck stopped


with him. He said he would not go any further because you across


possibility for the leadership. Someone else has to take up the


mantle. And then Mike Nesbitt will move on to pastures new, and we have


-- we had a conversation on the election night, you told me it would


be up to Mrs Swan as to whether or not your name would be in the hat.


What was her decision? I've spoken to her another times. Is the first


time I seen her in a number of weeks. She will have about at our


AGM on the 8th of April. She has a lot of power! If my name is on the


ballot paper, I hope she will be voting for me. Is that a distinct


possibility? Let's be honest, uni have ten people to choose from, some


of them are only just in the door. There is a misconception out there.


Jenny might. Who knows? It could be somebody else. It is more than


likely to be of the SMB team. You're not ruling yourself up? I'm not at


this stage. You will have a lot of work to do if you are taking the


reigns over from Mike Nesbitt, because it was a disappointing


performance. You will not argue with that, will you? I will not argue.


But we did have some good results. Jon Stewart took a seat of Sinn


Fein. The number of constituencies where we were coming in... We could


be looking at Michael Henderson in south Belfast. The reality is it was


a mighty seat Assembly. We are there as the sixth candidate in a number


of constituencies. It is case of increasing that vote. In my


constituency, we increased our first preference vote by 36%. A solid


performance by Alliance, you had eight seats, and you held onto


those, and your vote was up 2%. As I made the point earlier, the number


of people voting was up substantially. How percentage was


also up, today is the highest since 1987. Regardless of the vote being


up, how share bid was also increased, which is significant.


Mixed messages as far as the middle ground. You're pleased with that. I


don't think there is mixed messages in the middle ground. That is not


fair. If you include the Ulster Unionist Party as part of the middle


ground... You can't, they were part of the hammering that Unionism took.


If you look at the middle ground in terms of the Greens, ourselves and


so on, we held our ground and increased our overall proportional


representation at the Assembly. I think those parties that are not


aligned did better than the Unionist parties. I don't think you can lump


that together. I think the differential turnout did benefit


nationalists parties, and the STL be benefited from that. Because Sinn


Fein got their vote out. Arlene Foster is to thank for that. As far


as the future of your party is concerned, you're part of the


opposition last time, but not the official opposition. Would you want


to be part of that, or would you like the Ulster Unionist 's and SDLP


to be part of that with you, or will you be in a minority as far as the


official opposition be concerned? We will see what happens. There is no


indication that it is possible to get an Executive. I think one thing


we've learned from this election is people digging in around


personalities is a bad choice. If the DUP do not realise that now,


they will never realise that. If you look back with the benefit of high


-- of hindsight, people would have preferred a step down by Arlene


Foster in December brother than the note down in the election. That is


not what happened. No, but to dig in around personalities is the wrong


route to take. The public see the opportunity for power-sharing to be


restored, for progressive politics in this Assembly. The addition of


concern is not theoretical, it needs to be addressed, it can still be


abused in its current form and that needs to stop. There is the


opportunity for us to move forward on a whole host of issues. The


public will judge anyone, including Sinn Fein, harshly if they do not


take the opportunity presented to make that deliver for them. You are


a former party leader, for a time, served as Justice Minister, and the


decision was made not to do that in the previous short mandate and went


to Claire Sugden instead. To you like the sound of Naomi Long as


Justice Minister? You could be offered it.


We are not interested whether it goes elsewhere, we are interested in


the quality of government we get. We were clear the basis on which we


were willing to participate in government and have been willing to


pass it in spades on previous occasions where those conditions


were met. They would not be met. What we found actually with the


collapse of the executive was our estimation of how that executive


would play out, it will be dominated by the DUP, they wouldn't show


respect, it was proven to be correct. Just briefly, you must have


a sense whether you'd like to be inside the executive all out


criticising it? What's your hunch? It is not about hunch is, it is


fact, if the executive is willing to be progressive and deliver on the


issues we are concerned about and to be a proper executive, we would


consider if there were opportunities to be part of it. If there are not,


we are quite happy to sit in opposition and to do that job


effectively. I think we were effective, despite not being in


official opposition. Simon Hamilton, D you fancy it at this stage a


return to a grand coalition that had four or five parties involved, it


would be better than the DUP, better for Sinn Fein because some of the


sharp differences might be blurred and little bits in future if that


were the case? Would you rather have everybody inside the tent rather


than some of them out causing huge trouble? It is a matter for other


parties... I know it is, I'm asking you what you think. It may be seen


strange as we said here now at the last couple of months to see we had


Sinn Fein and the DUP, they had been working quite effectively in


government. But it fell apart in December in spectacular fashion.


That's why I qualified my remarks. It is a matter for other parties


whether they want to join the executive, but what we want to do,


whether there are two parties, how many in the executive, if we can get


it up and running, we have to get back to that effective delivery,


that more joined up approach we were taken before it fell apart. That is


the most important thing. People recognise progress had been made, we


were working closer. That is a tall order, just say it won't make it


happen. You can't waive your magic wand and see all that has been said


in the past weeks. There are three things the government has a say, set


a budget, have a plan for Brexit and sustain themselves. You didn't do


any of them. I am not saying from December onwards it was a wonderful


success, but up until then... The wheels came off the cart. There was


a piece that said... It was job only executive achievement, it was an


opinion piece. We need to get back to that. Regardless of how many are


in the executive, we have to deliver on what matters to the people. Jobs


and health education. The electorate have retained a recipe for


power-sharing as envisaged under the terms. Sinn Fein wants to see


power-sharing back at Stormont? There are people who think perhaps


Sinn Fein privately has the view that direct rule might be better and


it might deliver on some of those... You will scotch that? I want it


removed completely. I want power-sharing returner, more powers


given to the Assembly and the executive to run government. There a


responsibility on all the parties around this table to enter the


executive and share power together. It is our responsibility... There


was leaking of executive papers... Not by us. Let me finish. One of the


complaints as they didn't get the papers. The Ulster Unionist parties


are on the middle ground, I'm trying to get my head around that comment.


If you look at the landscape and Sinn Fein is at one end, the DUP at


the other, it is not reasonable to talk about the middle ground as the


other parties. We are at the end that's aboard equality and respect


for all our citizens. I will state that. That is what our politics is


based on. The three parties beside me, two of them, never supported the


budget in ten years. There is a responsibility on all those who


enter the executive to work the executive. How do you respond to


that? Hang on. Executive papers were leaked and the SDLP never voted for


a budget, even though you had administrators in your executive.


You can't have it both ways. You can. You can't. We were out. All of


the criticisms we made of the executive over the last two and a


half terms have been borne out. We said there was a lack of delivery,


corruption, power exclusion. Sinn Frain agreed avers, despite telling


us it was just sour grapes but ten years -- agreed with us. I think it


say we also have a mandate and shouldn't expect to go in and get


crumbs from the mandate, little bits and pieces of information and not


have any... It is fair to say everyone will look at the Assembly


and seat two blocks of a third on the side and one block in the centre


ground. I think that was borne out in the transfers that helped achieve


a lot of those seats in that middle third, they came from all across


acute unity and chose to people. Robin Swann, if you would a leader


of Unionist party, which you want to be in the executive or part of the


opposition? You wouldn't be Leader of the Opposition, would you want to


be part of the opposition criticising the new executive? If


this is the future government, this is what we will the exchange we


had... Finish the sentence. If this is a future government, there is no


hope. If you are part of it, you might get them to behave better.


What we saw in the past was those withholding information, a budget


not functioning, it was used to punish the smaller parties that were


in the executive. The health minister never saw any additional


money is coming to help. When the DUP took over help there were ?430


million... 20 million withheld. Forgive me for wanting to speak on


their behalf, but it might just think everyone needs to grow up


around the table a little bit. Those who criticise the way the bigger


bodies behave, but themselves are not beyond criticism. Everyone is


talking about things being done differently. Is net everyone who


need to do things differently? -- isn't it. We did support the budget


in the executive. When we got the information in advance, got the


opportunity to scrutinise it and negotiate our position. When the


budget was dropped on our table half an hour before the vote in the


Assembly, we didn't. Why would we? Who in their right mind would be


bounced into accepting it, a budget they had no part in shaping? What we


have said clearly from the outset, if you want to be partners in


government, treat them like partners. If you want to treat


people like they aren't your equal, then forget it, because we won't


be... What happens next is? Budget process in 1998 saw the budget


brought to the Assembly, put through scrutiny committees, voted on,


change and amended at four different stages. Not simply presented as a


done deal. That is where this executive needs to mandate. Sinn


Fein and the DUP carved up the decisions outside the room, walked


in, push them through, that is no way to run a government. I want to


start looking back and start looking forward. We have a couple minutes


left. James Brokenshire said there will be talks process sooner than


later. Let me ask you, John, it looks like the man in the driving


seat to move that process board is James Brokenshire, but you said he


wasn't an honest broker. Will you be at the talks? He will be at the


talks, but he's not there to check, he is there as a player. He is part


of the problem, so he's got to be part of the solution. His commentary


in the months leading up, in relation to Brexit, they have all


worsen the problems we face in our society. He has issued the


invitation is... Whether he issues invitations are not, there will be


talks. So you will be boycotting the talks? The God he has to get it


clear that he's not there as an independent -- he has to get it


clear in his head. We need to deliver... I do believe it can be


delivered. You are prepared to compromise on that if necessary? We


are prepared to work on what people from Northern Ireland one, a


functioning Assembly that is delivering on issues that are


important with him. Claire Hanna, will you be there? Of course. He has


not got the best interest of Northern Ireland regarding Brexit,


and he has been an activist. I hope he will have the self-awareness to


exclude himself. If you sending me e-mails out and issuing invitations,


of course we will be participating. We desperately want things to work.


Can they be made to work which marked the clock is ticking. Of


course they can be made to a parties, the right attitude. Robin


Swann? We will be at the talks. Will Mike Nesbitt rerunning it? No. What


is his role? Mike as party leader until the AGM, so he will be there.


There was a goal from Danny Kennedy to move the process back a little


bit because you got an annual meeting up soon, it might bounce you


into a quick decision. Should you take your time and think about it?


Our AGM is the 9th of April and that is pencilled in. Naomi Long, what is


your view on talks? You said you didn't like James Brokenshire's


talks. We have to get around the table and make it work, because it


will be James Brokenshire in charge, and it ever there was an argument


why devolution needs to work, it is because the current man is not an


impartial player when it comes to politics.


Well, the focus now is on whether or not


the newly-elected Assembly can produce a government.


The Secretary of State, James Brokenshire,


and the Irish Foreign Minister, Charlie Flanagan, have both pledged


to work with the parties - and Mr Brokenshire made a short


I just want to make a short statement. This week's election has


demonstrated the clear desire by the overwhelming majority of people in


Northern Ireland for inclusive devolved government. And I


congratulate all those who'd been elected. Everyone now has a shared


responsibility to engage intensively in the short days available to us to


establish a strong and stable administration. Northern Ireland has


made great strides forward over the past two decades, and all others


must continue this work of building a stable, peaceful and prosperous


Northern Ireland that works for everyone, based on the strong and


solid foundations of the Belfast agreement, the Good Friday Agreement


and its successors. It is with this positive intent that the government


's approach as the days ahead. I'll be speaking to party leaders later


today and remaining in close contact with the Irish government.


The Secretary of State re-iterating his commitment to devolution.


And I'm joined now by a member of the previous Executive,


the newly re-elected Independent MLA Claire Sugden.


Congratulations to you first of all. It was a good performance, your vote


was up about 1600 first preferences on last maple top how do you account


for it? Was it your high profile? I have a very strong support within my


own constituency. I've spent the past three years since becoming an


MP getting out and no my constituents. I am delighted with my


performance, 50% up on last year. Hopefully we can see how we will


take the company board. Your decision to go into the executive


worked in your favour because it looks like it didn't work in the


favour of, for example, the Ulster Unionist party, a lot of people


wondered whether something similar would happen to you in terms of your


decision? But not so? I think my constituents were content I took the


role because they saw the opportunity for them that I would


have a seat at the table so I could influence decisions. You did admit


to meet in an interview last week that you were very sorely let down


by the DUP and Sinn Fein, they invited you into the executive, they


couldn't function without you in the role of justice minister. They said


they wanted to work in partnership, the whole thing collapsed when the


wheels came off the cart in December. And you did say you felt


let down. I was let down, they asked me to do a job and it away from me.


Of course I was let down. You did make a mistake. You said I have no


shopping list, I want to do the right thing to Northern Ireland.


Maybe if you'd had had a shopping list and got in and said, I will do


this but you got to do this and behave in a certain way. If you had


said that and help them to it, maybe we wouldn't have had the election.


Hopefully it will benefit me moving forward. If I had the opportunity, I


would like to finish the job I started. That remains the case. It


cannot just be about you. It has to be about what is right for Northern


Ireland overall. It is not just about Claire Sugden's benefit. It is


not just about me, and one of the hardest things you can do is stand


for the Northern Ireland Assembly as an independent. It is not just about


me. Apart from my red assessor, I'm the most experienced person for this


job. I will be going into this... It is fair to say that previous to the


scandal of RHI, Sinn Fein the DUP and myself were working successfully


in government in a way that was unprecedented. I would like to find


a way to get back to that space. You would like to be Justice Minister


again? Yes. If it is offered to you by Sinn Fein and the DUP, would you


not say to them, here is my shopping list, I want you to agree to my


terms and conditions and a Petition of Concern. I want you to sign up to


an agreement on how you behave in government and working together in


partnership. If you don't do that, there is the possibility that the


wheels will come off in another eight or ten months? I don't think


my telling them to behave and grub will make them do that. What we need


to do in these negotiations is work on that relationship between Sinn


Fein and the DUP. It was not me that collapse the guy Executive. I


thought that that relationship was strong, but clearly it was


vulnerable. If we're going to move forward, they need to work on that


relationship. What do you make... Do you think this could be made to work


in three weeks? Do you get a sense that now the election is over,


people trying to get out of the corners that people have painted


themselves into? I think during an election to an extent, you take an


awful lot of what is said with a pinch of salt. By BMI is that the


DUP and Sinn Fein have backed themselves into a corner with the


red lines they have suggested. But moving forward this is about them as


much as it is about me, it is really about the people of Northern


Ireland. I think that that is the message. We have had an increased


ten more than ever, so we need people to get back to running the


Government, because that is what we pay them for. Where you invited to


the talks? He has been in touch, and I am eager to take him up on that.


If he said EU, I would like you to be part of this process, you would


be there? Of course. We need to find a way forward. It is not about party


political interest, not about who is going to take what seats. We have to


get our government back up and running. This is about governing for


the people of Northern Ireland. It will be messy if James Brokenshire


and three smaller parties and yourself, it will be difficult with


everyone around the table. I like to think I'm a voice of reason. It is


not going to be any less messy with the five of them up as well as the


smaller parties and myself. We all need to be part of it because if we


can move forward, we will be part of this process. We would not want to


be in a situation where the Executive has collapsed again. How


politics is fragile. We are still in our infancy. But you remain an


optimist? We have do, it is not about us. It is about the people


that voted us into these mandates last Thursday.


And there were, of course, representatives of three smaller


After his election the TUV leader, Jim Allister, said the results


showed that unionists now need to rethink their views


It is a day when we are seeing Sinn Fein advances, and there is no


longer a majority control in the Assembly. That sends a message to


the leaders of unionism and the people within it,... There will be


asking themselves whether we really want to keep Stormont, at all


unionists have to do some hard -- heart searching.


Clare Bailey of the Green Party was the last MLA to be elected,


with the South Belfast declaration made in the early hours


Her party leader, Steven Agnew, told our Political Correspondent,


Stephen Walker, that the key priority now is agreeing


We will go back with a good green team, both here and in south


Belfast. What I will be saying to all politicians, we have got to


focus on the fact that those people or unprotected notice for their jobs


will stop we need to get that security for those people who are


waiting on a budget being agreed, and their jobs being confirmed. That


should focus minds. And the time for the political power play is done, we


need to get the Government back up and running. You are small party.


People across Northern Ireland, people have backed the DUP and Sinn


Fein to make them the biggest parties, backed them in their


thousands. Why do green votes matter? There thousands of people


who voted Green. It is important that everybody has a stake in our


politics. People Before Profit always knew


the reduction in seats would likely mean Eamonn McCann


was going to lose his Gerry Carroll retained his


seat in west Belfast - he defended that party's stance


on Brexit, which became a part We were close to the youth from a


left-wing standpoint. Look at what they have done to the people in the


South of Ireland, they demanded that they pay water charges, demanded


that they have job losses. People were ignored in graceful stop the U


reticence austerity and the establishment, and People Before


Profit are opposed to it for those reasons. There was a lot of


scaremongering and this representation of our organisation,


particularly in west Belfast by the established parties. But people


voted for Sinn Fein, there was an increase across the North because


people thought that by voting for Sinn Fein, that is the best way to


stand up against corruption as they see it, stand up against the DUP.


But it will be critical happens in the next few weeks. There was going


to be a call for heads to roll within RHI as well.


Gerry Carroll, looking forward to the next few weeks.


Well, it's been described as a watershed election by Gerry Adams.


Let's see what my guests of the day make of it all.


I'm joined by Patricia McBride, Professor Pete Shirlow,


Nicholas Whyte and our Political editor Mark Devenport.


You are all welcome to the programme. Thank you for being here.


I want to tease out your thoughts in terms of what you heard with regard


to the five main parties earlier in the programme. Did you see any signs


of John O'Dowd, Simon Hamilton, there are presented of Sinn Fein and


the DUP trying to find a way to make things happen in a positive way in


the next three weeks? I think the tone has been fairly positive in


terms of the sort of mood music from both of them saying they want to


come to this, in terms of trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together


again. He said there was a recipe for devolution here, and Simon


Hamilton was saying that the DUP wants to make things work. What we


did not get down to was any obvious sign of compromise on this clear


problem or Sinn Fein stipulating that they would not be supporting


Arlene Foster as First Minister. Under the current system, they don't


have to vote for her as First Minister, but my understanding that


Sinn Fein will not nominate their Debuchy First Minister if Arlene


Foster is First Minister. We know there is the RHI scandal which Sinn


Fein wants to conclude, but that is due to go on for at least six


months, maybe longer. I saw Gerry Adams talking again about the fact


they had originally look for a preliminary report, but Sinn Fein


phone's Minister said that it was not an option. It is hard to square


that circle at the moment. We will watch that. Let's talk about Arlene


Foster and her leadership and how damaged she may or may not be by the


result. Simon Hamilton had a stout defence of her performance, saying


that her demise was exaggerated. On the radio last night, if she thought


that someone just add aside to let someone else be nominated, the party


would back her decision. Does that mean that those conversations are


happening, always very danger in the circumstances that people begin to


exaggerate? Conversations will happen for real when people get up


to Stormont and when I can have their proper internal conversations.


I'm sure the phone has been buzzing. There are some within the DUP who


feel sore about this, we have seen ten of their team out of a job, and


this could have been avoided if she had stood aside, Mike Peter Robinson


in the winter period. There is some difficulty getting their heads


around this. At the moment, I don't see anyone watching a coup against,


but there will be a discussion around the option of a caretaker


First Minister. Someone like Simon Hamilton? He will be an obvious


person. He was associated with the renewable heat initiative in


relation to being an economy job and in relation to pushing through


things like the cost controls, but he was not associated with it in the


earlier days. He might be seen as someone who will be a compromise


candidate. At the same time, Arlene Foster has very much said, I have


done nothing wrong, she stood against this, and she might feel


that this will be an intolerable loss of face if she gave way to what


has been a Sinn Fein demand. OK. Do you think Arlene Foster has been


damaged by this result? Similar to when Peter Robinson stood down,


there is a fundamental problem for her that this is why they came out.


The type of leadership she offered, she emboldened nationalism to some


extent, leading us to where we are today. That vote was always there,


it just needed something to trigger it. That is a new situation we're


in. The problem will always be 50 plus one. This has brought them


close to that. Very much she has to consider what Unionist leadership


will be because there are two separate things. I think that Sinn


Fein will... They will call for a border poll. There will be support


for unification. She has been increasingly careful here, because


if she does anything like she did before the election which emboldens


nationalism, that border poll will be incredibly problematic. This


election has shown is that Unionism has to realise the society in which


we now live. If you look at the census and you look at people over


the age of 18, the question over the last four or five years has been,


why is it so flat? It wasn't annoyed, it did not feel as if it


was being treated as second-class citizenry. They do feel that now. It


was not about the bigger issue, the question has changed and will be a


big shift in that over the next couple of years. One of the


interesting things is that the strategy for this election when you


are saying, Sinn Fein can't be the biggest party, you must back the


DUP. A hard strategy might work in that situation. The border poll will


not be immediate, but the strategy has to be different. You have two


reassure people who might be slightly nationalists, which are


diametrically opposed to the strategy we have just seen played


out. There is a drive that people are talking about their for a border


poll. I would not describe nationalism has emboldened as Alvin


iced. There have been a series of events over the past number of


years, the RHI is, Nam, red sky, a number of scandals which the DUP


have had falling at their feet. There have been issues around


equality, Irish language, petitions of concern, it is about nationalism


and Republicans of all shades, saying, this is not how we will


accept how the governorate is run. John O'Dowd made clear, Harold


desired outcome is the restoration of a dissolved Assembly and


Executive at Stormont. That is the back mechanism for


ensuring the quality issues that we are driving forward delivered. The


idea of a border poll is premature. You see Sinn Fein saying in the next


of time and this is about developing reassurance of the structure works,


people are saved, equality is something that goes across the


entire community, it is not simply a Republican issue. But it is seismic


that we are going into a new Assembly. Almost 100 years since


partition, where there's not a Unionist majority. In political


terms. That is frightening. That is challenged Sinn Fein, to not turn


fear in the anger and to try and harness a positive attitude. The


SDLP likewise should not see the number of seats sustained, should


not see that as an endorsement of their strategy of going into


opposition. They should be clearly reading the signals from the


electorate that they were frustrated at the lack of progress in terms of


equality, in terms of addressing issues around scandals. Nicholas,


there are lots of things we can extrapolate from the figures, but


something I wanted to tease out slightly. We've heard a lot of chat


over the last 48 hours about a mixed message and, different messages


coming out. How should we read it? Mark has talked about differential


turnout. What is it, and how does it play into what has happened in terms


of voting holding firmly but not producing the outcome, Sinn Fein


vote up, galvanise? The SDLP seemingly doing well in the middle


ground, Alliance doing well, Ulster Unionist doing badly. Several things


are happening, turnover is up everywhere. In east Belfast, most in


some of the border constituencies. And by 18% across-the-board. By ten


points, which is an 18% increase. That in itself is remarkable. We had


decreasing turnouts, now it is clear there new voters were not Unionist


voters. Sinn Fein got a lot of those new boat, the Alliance party got a


lot. The Unionists on a whole did not -- vote. Now, the SDLP


performance slightly flattered to deceive in terms of the numbers of


seats they won. It was historically the lowest vote share ever achieved


at a Northern Ireland election. They pulled in a few big names. They did,


they pulled them in with all seniors transfers. Which is the fascinating


thing. Mike Nesbitt said the ball rolling. He said in his


constituency, he would beat given his second preference of the SLP,


others felt it was in such a good idea. Pat Catley won seat, was that


because a transfer? That was precisely because the Ulster


Unionists transfers, when they came, went to him as well as a DUP. He


also picked up the Sinn Fein as well. And the SLP returned the


favour, Rosemary Barton survived. We're looking at those figures


played through as far as those transfers are concerned. It is an


interesting picture. Maybe nobody was more surprised than Pat Catley.


He tried before and failed. The other side of that is a DUP voters


in south Belfast seemingly did not transfer to Michael Henderson, he


lost the fifth seat to the Green Party. That right, we can no longer


treat the blocks as monolithic, there's more tactful picture out.


That is valuable, but those. We are looking at the figures come through.


Transfers. When the history of this election is written, the word


transfer will be in the first sentence, won't it? Yes, because in


relation to Mike Nesbitt's comment, it could be argued that it may have


ended up costing him the leadership, it does not just because of the


whole technical issue of transfers, bid because he hadn't cleared it


with his party beforehand and you had him saying something, his


candidate saying others. Some people may have fought, here we go again.


It may be some voters who are thinking of giving him the number


one, hopped across to Alliance, who returned with the same number of


seats, which was a strengthening of their position. What about the new


leader of the Unionist party, Robert Swan is not ruling himself out. We


are still waiting what Mrs Swan has to saved. Steve Aiken says he is


thinking about things, Doug Beattie ruled himself out and hesitated, so


I wasn't sure if he was, if he was potentially ruin himself back in.


Who is there, who do you think the front you have talked about most of


them, Robin Swann must be up them, taken them on a more traditional


line. This will be a battle, and one fascinating thing they face, Robin


Swann said that Tom Elliott is the chief negotiator, but they have to


make a decision about whether they take a seat in government. In the


talks that will come up between now and April when they pick a new


leader. You wonder who will make that call? Lu it will have to be a


collective decision, I would have thought. They will honestly be


looking at these results and wondering whether their decision to


hop into opposition cost them. I think you have to take a step back


and think about Mike Nesbitt. He said he stood for a crossed unity


nonsectarian boat. He has left the stage. What we have seen in this


election -- vote. Those smaller parties are there because they got


the fifth seat. We have somebody who tried to change the dynamic of


politics. And has left the political stage. What we have this morning


with by political parties was rolling and fighting. The two main


parties stood on a platform of keeping each other out. One platform


per Sinn Fein was we are mistreated, and that but a lot of fire under


their campaign. The DUP was, if you vote this way, if you vote for the


SDLP you get Gerry Adams. That was that. We have somebody who tried to


change it. Which reflects... He was part of a packed with a DUP two


years ago. There is a voice, somebody who is still up and said


let's reflect, we engage with each other, Protestants and Catholics,


Unionists and non-newness, people work in different ways. We socialise


in different ways. There is a mismatch between the politics we


have, which is driven by the spire and anger and this constitutional


issue, which does not reflect part of the society in which we live. One


voice for that has now left the stage. I think that is really


regrettable. The middle ground has not achieved much. I disagree, I


think it is disrespectful to the electorate to say we want people to


come and be engaged, but we don't want you to vote that way, we want


you to vote in the middle ground and how we tell you. People voted


because they were angry, angry either for all the reasons we've


talked about. I think the electorate have shown that the opposition has


failed. You can't say we only had three Munsey operated, you should


never have gone into it if you didn't have a plan, he didn't have


an alternative -- three months. You worked with Mike. On a personal


level, are you sorry to see him go? I think he is a loss, because he


encouraged debate that perhaps that party had never had. And from that


point of view, it gave them an opportunity to look at how they were


doing, how they were doing business. I fundamentally believe he would


have taken them back if he had remained. They didn't lose because


they were in opposition, these parties were damaged at the 1998.


They lost half of their boats, each lost half of their boats ten, 12


years ago. -- votes. What has damaged the is the dysfunctional


relationship between the two main parties in the Assembly, and that


dysfunctional Blishen ship work for them in terms of maximising their


boats. This is what we have observed -- relationship. What has damaged


the Ulster Unionists and the SLP in the first place was a failure to


deliver. Which is possibly based on their ablation ship. Interesting


stepping back, if the Ulster Unionist don't go to executive and


the S Gill P do, -- SDLP, you could be looking at a nationalist


majority. Which is intriguing? I would suspect the STL P and alter


Unionists one man mark each other, they will either jumping or jump our


-- SDLP. We often talk about Sinn Fein's red line. Colonies to word


was on record saying he wouldn't join and Arlene Foster led


government. But remains a problem. If they both jump out, we get back


into that problem. It is four DUP, three Sinn Fein. Alliance could


theoretically be offered it. We are in very interesting circumstances.


The Unionist lead was 1100 votes. The next leaders will have to answer


the question, would you accept the position of Deputy First Minister?


That is a fascinating question to leave the programme on. Thank you


very much. So that was the Assembly Election


2017 - a snap election that saw crocodiles to the fore,


and which chewed up and spat I'll be back with lots more


on The View on Thursday Until then, we'll leave


you with some of the stand-out moments of a memorable


couple of days. Something is happening out there, we


don't know what it is yet, but we're here to find out. No one could have


predicted this ten months ago. Some politicians are going to be very


disappointed. It proves a total relevance of


social media for a start. You must be feeling better you've got that


off your chest. I've been waiting all day.


There's also a huge vote of thanks to Martin. Too tired to laugh and to


all to cry. So I shall not continue in this position. People are


comparing this to blockbusters, how dare they? I resented, my mother


resented, my family resented, stop doing it. Can I have a DUP, please,


Bob? Is that a crocodile or an alligator? Are you trying to kill


me? We have a huge responsibility to ensure we and run from Dublin, from




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