11/02/2014 Stormont Today


11/02/2014

A political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Mark Carruthers is the guide through the corridors of power at Stormont.


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Hello and welcome to Stormont Today. Coming up in the next 30 minutes:

:00:28.:00:32.

The Health Minister responds to news that delays in treatment may have

:00:33.:00:35.

contributed to the deaths of five people at a Belfast hospital. The

:00:36.:00:44.

public need to know that mortality is lower in Northern Ireland and it

:00:45.:00:50.

is in England in our hospitals. We hear from an MLA angered by the

:00:51.:00:53.

Health Minister's decision to consult further on the issue of

:00:54.:01:00.

organ donation. The statement proves one thing in this House today, the

:01:01.:01:05.

personal commitments of every First Minister needs nothing. You can

:01:06.:01:08.

serve an issue to death, meanwhile people continue to die.

:01:09.:01:12.

And the News Letters Sam McBride casts his eye over the day's

:01:13.:01:17.

proceedings. News broke this morning that as many

:01:18.:01:21.

as five patients died in Northern Ireland's biggest hospital last year

:01:22.:01:24.

partly because they were not treated quickly enough. Dr Tony Stevens,

:01:25.:01:27.

Medical Director of the Belfast Health Trust, said the deaths

:01:28.:01:30.

happened at the Royal Victoria Hospital. A Sinn Fein MLA used his

:01:31.:01:34.

topical question during Question Time to ask for the Health

:01:35.:01:45.

Minister's response to the deaths. There is always an number of deaths

:01:46.:01:54.

in emergency departments. The speed of what appropriate medical care is

:01:55.:01:58.

a factor and that includes ambulance response times, diagnostic testing

:01:59.:02:02.

and the provisional -- provision of clinical care. I ensure the best

:02:03.:02:09.

outcome for the individual. I did express my concern about the Royal

:02:10.:02:13.

Victoria hospital. I am aware of the five cases that have been referred

:02:14.:02:19.

to. While I don't have the specific details I have asked my officials to

:02:20.:02:25.

ascertain whether the systems in place for learning are fully

:02:26.:02:28.

functional and to identify issues of concern. It is important to reassure

:02:29.:02:33.

the public about the overall safety of these services. Overall,

:02:34.:02:37.

mortality figures for Northern Ireland hospitals compare favourably

:02:38.:02:41.

with the rest of the UK. Let's be very clear, the public need to know

:02:42.:02:48.

that mortality is lower in Northern Ireland than it is in England in our

:02:49.:02:53.

hospitals. Would the Minister cup -- contrast that news with his comments

:02:54.:02:58.

in early January that the situation with the Royal was a one off? The

:02:59.:03:05.

discussion we had in January was about three days. This particular

:03:06.:03:11.

issue we are discussing is about the five incidents over the course of a

:03:12.:03:16.

year. We need to be very careful and very sensitive on how to handle

:03:17.:03:20.

these things and I don't intend to engage in some ping-pong about

:03:21.:03:26.

people 's deaths. Can I assure the House and neither will I have the

:03:27.:03:32.

design view for sustained political and media focus which has led to

:03:33.:03:36.

these revelations which might not always come to the fore. We conclude

:03:37.:03:41.

the Minister Ivan did know or didn't know about the long-term pressures

:03:42.:03:46.

when he was making his earlier remarks. Will he agree with me the

:03:47.:03:49.

public might the right to suspect there was at least a disguising of

:03:50.:03:52.

the situation or at worst a cover-up? It has been said in this

:03:53.:04:01.

House a number of times and people ignored it. I attended the Royal

:04:02.:04:09.

Victoria hospital on the morning after the major incident was

:04:10.:04:13.

declared. I spoke to staff and I took my actions on the basis from

:04:14.:04:19.

speaking to staff. Nothing else, nothing more. The Health Minister,

:04:20.:04:24.

Edwin Poots. I'm joined now by the News Letter's Political

:04:25.:04:27.

Correspondent, Sam McBride. Another tough day for Edwin? It was. It has

:04:28.:04:38.

to be said, he does front up on these occasions and comes out and

:04:39.:04:42.

answers the tough questions, he did that at the time of the crisis in

:04:43.:04:46.

the Royal a few weeks ago. It also has to be said this change to the

:04:47.:04:49.

assembly question Time when MLAs can ask topical questions is a massive

:04:50.:04:56.

improvement from six months ago. It would have been impossible for

:04:57.:04:59.

anyone to ask him what was on the radio this morning. It was good he

:05:00.:05:04.

could face those questions. It is a difficult position he finds himself

:05:05.:05:09.

in. I suppose some people might say he ordered a major review into the

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Royal last week. What else can he do? That is a fair question. It is

:05:14.:05:18.

clear why nobody wanted this portfolio when they were dividing up

:05:19.:05:23.

the departments at the election. Nobody wanted this, they all had the

:05:24.:05:27.

chance to go for it. The DUP, as the largest party was left with it. It

:05:28.:05:37.

is such a large department. Education is enormously important,

:05:38.:05:39.

not everyone has children or interested in schools, but everyone

:05:40.:05:45.

uses hospitals. As we move towards an election we will see this as a

:05:46.:05:48.

big issue, OK it is a European election, but they are contested on

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much more mundane issues sometimes in this part of the world. We have

:05:53.:05:58.

had flags, parades and all of that stuff, but aside from that, and

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massive issue will be the health service. He has been critical of the

:06:03.:06:07.

media in recent weeks for its handling over the health stories

:06:08.:06:09.

that have come to light. He was accused himself of responding to

:06:10.:06:13.

media pressure. Is that a fair criticism? It is difficult for

:06:14.:06:20.

journalists sometimes to report specialised issues like health. It

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is incredibly specialised. The idea of having bigger hospitals, which

:06:26.:06:28.

the evidence seems to suggest are safer and Edmonton -- Edwin Pitts

:06:29.:06:34.

has been pioneering. It is difficult to explain to the public which ones

:06:35.:06:41.

do have a local hospital, even if it is not the safest hospital. But a

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lot of this stuff would not have come out if it had not been for

:06:46.:06:48.

brave people in the health service you are speaking to journalists who

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have concerns. It is a tough department to be in charge of. He

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does not look like a man who is on the verge of being asked to

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relinquish his position. He'd theoretically should have gone now

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as Minister? When Simon Hamilton replaced Sunni Wilson last year, the

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DP said it would be January if there was any change. January has come and

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gone and we have seen nothing. It is unlikely we see him move unless

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there is a huge crisis. I don't think that is likely. Sam, thank you

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for now. The Health Minister was very much centre stage today as he

:07:33.:07:35.

reported back to the Assembly on consultation about organ donation.

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The Ulster Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson is campaigning for a change

:07:39.:07:41.

to the current legislation, but Edwin Poots said he needs more

:07:42.:07:47.

evidence before changes can be made. We'll hear from Jo-Anne Dobson in a

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moment, but first here's a flavour of what was said in the chamber this

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morning. The strategy does not propose soft opt out legislation and

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should be introduced as UK wide policy. The strategy proposes that

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three groups, society, individuals, NHS hospitals and staff, NHS

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commissioners need to act for this strategy to be successful and

:08:14.:08:17.

achieve the desired outcomes. 56% of respondents said they would be in

:08:18.:08:24.

favour in changing to a soft opt out system. However, when asked if they

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agreed with the statement everyone should presume to be an organ donor

:08:29.:08:34.

unless they register otherwise, 49% agreed, indicating there is some

:08:35.:08:40.

confusion about the idea. Minister, your statement proves one thing in

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this House today. The personal commitment of the first and Deputy

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First Minister means nothing. People continue to die. Will you give a

:08:50.:08:55.

commitment to this House when you know the results of the second

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public survey, which I gather could be up to a year away. You will bring

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the soft opt out system before the end of this mandate, or perhaps you

:09:06.:09:10.

will commission and other survey followed by another survey, followed

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by yet another survey? I think that I couldn't be in a position to

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actually indicate that I know the outcome of what the second survey

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would actually produce. I did not dictate what people responded to in

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the survey. We asked people questions and they came back with

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answers. I know organ donation is hugely important to the member, and

:09:38.:09:43.

personally her family have benefited from that. I am not against the

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proposals that Mr Dobson has produced on soft opt out. That might

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be the right way forward but it is important we educate the public and

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bring the public with us on these issues, if we are going to take what

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is a significant step, but nonetheless the right step, but at

:10:03.:10:08.

this moment in time, I haven't got the powerful evidence base that I

:10:09.:10:11.

think we should have to move ahead just at this point in time. Recently

:10:12.:10:17.

on a number of occasions I have heard an MLA in the assembly making

:10:18.:10:24.

the point that when a department or minister wants to kick something

:10:25.:10:27.

into touch, he asks for more evidence. I am wondering, given the

:10:28.:10:33.

evidence, is this a case of looking for more evidence or are you kicking

:10:34.:10:40.

it into touch? That MLA was Jim Wells. I could not argue with him. I

:10:41.:10:50.

am not interested in taking this into touch, I am interested in

:10:51.:10:55.

getting the best outcomes. People can judge me as being genuine or

:10:56.:10:58.

not. I sincerely believe we should be encouraging more people to donate

:10:59.:11:05.

their organs. It is a sensitive issue, and it is something we need

:11:06.:11:08.

to be careful in how we manage the public and that we don't take the

:11:09.:11:12.

public for granted. I would encourage people to actually read

:11:13.:11:17.

the statistics that have been produced from the public health

:11:18.:11:22.

agency. They are very, very interesting. In fact, it indicates

:11:23.:11:28.

there could be a community difference or a religious difference

:11:29.:11:34.

in terms of organ donation. People from the Roman Catholic community

:11:35.:11:37.

for example, would be less inclined to have their organs donated than

:11:38.:11:44.

people from the president community. That was a flavour of the exchanges

:11:45.:11:50.

in the House today. Jo-Anne Dobson is with me now. Do you think he is

:11:51.:11:58.

deliberately holding things up? I was deeply disappointed, as were

:11:59.:12:02.

thousands of people about this statement. Here is the opportunity

:12:03.:12:06.

for the health minister and the executive to provide meaningful

:12:07.:12:10.

legislation and give hope to those waiting across Northern Ireland. I

:12:11.:12:15.

was exasperated again, another consultation, another survey. 12

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months down the line. Meanwhile, in those 12 months 15 local people will

:12:23.:12:25.

have died waiting for a transplant. He said no powerful evidence -based

:12:26.:12:31.

that is needed to move ahead exists at this time? I totally disagree

:12:32.:12:36.

with that. He has got that wrong in your view? I did my consultation

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over the summer, 82% in favour of soft opt out. If he came with me to

:12:43.:12:46.

meet those charities and campaigners, members of the public

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coming up to me saying, we are all behind you, it makes common sense.

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He says he will carry out another survey to sample public opinion.

:12:57.:13:02.

Your view is that it will simply tell him what you're survey has

:13:03.:13:07.

already told him? That is why I am so frustrated, that is the reality.

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Meanwhile it will be this time next year for him to know what we already

:13:17.:13:23.

know. What did departmental officials tell you about the timing?

:13:24.:13:27.

Why is it waiting until the autumn? I was to meet with the minister but

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he had to go to another meeting. I have tried to meet with the Minister

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this time to get answers to these questions. All we know is they are

:13:36.:13:40.

doing another survey late autumn and there will be another year before we

:13:41.:13:45.

get the results. It is unacceptable, 15 people will die. You think he is

:13:46.:13:53.

kicking the can down the road? That is exactly what he is doing. He's

:13:54.:13:58.

putting it off. People would say, he is the health minister, he has

:13:59.:14:03.

responsibility for this potential important legislation and he has got

:14:04.:14:06.

to get it right. He has to satisfy himself the evidence exist to move

:14:07.:14:12.

in the way you want it to move. He is the health minister and you are a

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back venture. -- backbencher. I wrote to them on the 20th of

:14:23.:14:25.

November. When you have the First Minister and Deputy First Minister,

:14:26.:14:33.

is the minister letting the civil servants rule him? The wishes of

:14:34.:14:40.

there. Is the deal going to be cabled? That is what I'm doing, I'm

:14:41.:14:43.

working into the small hours of the night drafting the bill, soft opt

:14:44.:14:48.

out. Wouldn't it have been lovely for the executive and health

:14:49.:14:52.

Minister to get behind me, sit down and work together to speed up this

:14:53.:14:56.

bill, rather than leaving it on me to go it alone? That is why I'm so

:14:57.:15:01.

disappointed. Here was an opportunity for the health minister

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and the executive to deliver, a missed opportunity. Again, people of

:15:05.:15:09.

Northern Ireland have been let down. Just to be clear, you are

:15:10.:15:12.

disappointed, but you are not going to let it stop you doing what you

:15:13.:15:16.

wanted to do, which is to pursue this yourself? Never underestimate

:15:17.:15:22.

the power of a determined female, especially one with 20 years

:15:23.:15:26.

association with charities and the mother of a transplant patient. I am

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resolute, I will not be found lacking, I will not let the people

:15:30.:15:32.

of Northern Ireland down. I'll be doing what is right and progressing

:15:33.:15:37.

with soft opt out. We will continue to keep an eye on it, it's

:15:38.:15:40.

developing into an interesting situation.

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The budget bill is currently making an accelerated passage through the

:15:45.:15:47.

assembly. While it was discussed today, the roadblock prevented

:15:48.:15:52.

welfare reform from getting anywhere and reared its head. One MLA called

:15:53.:15:58.

it a Mexican stand-off between the the DUP and Sinn Fein. The purpose

:15:59.:16:07.

of the bill is to authorise the issue of ?15,530,833,000 from the

:16:08.:16:11.

Northern Ireland Consolidated fund in 2013-14. This is an additional

:16:12.:16:17.

123 million since the estimates were presented last year. This cash is

:16:18.:16:23.

drawn down on a daily basis as needed, from the Northern Ireland

:16:24.:16:26.

Consolidated fund, managed by my department on behalf of the

:16:27.:16:29.

executive. The bill also authorises the use of resources totalling

:16:30.:16:36.

?16,606,564,000 by departments and certain other bodies, 5 million more

:16:37.:16:44.

than approved in the last estimates last June. The order states that

:16:45.:16:51.

accelerated passage may be allowed for budget bills, provided that the

:16:52.:16:57.

committee are satisfied and it has been appropriately consulted on

:16:58.:17:00.

public expenditure proposals contained in the bill. On the 5th of

:17:01.:17:04.

February, departmental officials briefed the committee and her

:17:05.:17:07.

questions on the budget bill being debated today, including on issues

:17:08.:17:10.

relating to a range of departments. In addition to the evidence, the

:17:11.:17:17.

committee has also scrutinised the bills to the financial year. Finance

:17:18.:17:22.

minister suggesting a figure of ?1 billion, the figure may be in

:17:23.:17:25.

dispute, but the fact that there is and will continue to be a cost of

:17:26.:17:31.

doing nothing is indisputable. I don't support every part of the

:17:32.:17:36.

welfare legislation. However, the place that proposed it was not

:17:37.:17:39.

Westminster. The room that we have in this house is for local

:17:40.:17:45.

determination. I support local determination in the framework of

:17:46.:17:49.

the bill. Where there is room for... What there is not room for is

:17:50.:17:53.

a continued Mexican stand-off between parties. What we need is

:17:54.:17:57.

constructive dialogue on the welfare bill, not a microphone debate. The

:17:58.:18:02.

minister yesterday and today has been right to highlight that issue.

:18:03.:18:07.

It is the elephant in the room, the elephant of welfare reform. There is

:18:08.:18:13.

a catastrophe, potentially coming down the road, for all constituents,

:18:14.:18:19.

if the issue is not grasped soon. Deputy Speaker, when we compare this

:18:20.:18:22.

with the approach to financial scrutiny and the devolution of

:18:23.:18:27.

further tax powers to Northern Ireland, the difference is again

:18:28.:18:31.

starker. Scotland held a far-reaching commission to examine

:18:32.:18:36.

the issues in their entirety and make progress on financial scrutiny.

:18:37.:18:41.

Despite the executive's unanimous support for devolving corporation

:18:42.:18:46.

tax, what preparations for enhanced scrutiny have we made in this house?

:18:47.:18:52.

Inevitably, this brings me onto welfare reform, also referred to as

:18:53.:18:57.

cuts my colleagues across the way. The finance minister has been saying

:18:58.:19:00.

much of this recently. To be fair to him, I concur. With much of what he

:19:01.:19:08.

says, anyway. But it is deeply regrettable we have seen ?50 million

:19:09.:19:11.

set aside for penalties. This is wasted money. It was not ?50 million

:19:12.:19:18.

that directly affected the most vulnerable, nor was it spent wisely.

:19:19.:19:22.

It was spent while the parties engaged in an exhaustive process of

:19:23.:19:29.

negotiation around the issues. It is not acceptable that this bill is

:19:30.:19:36.

still festering away in the corridors of Stormont Castle. The

:19:37.:19:39.

question the minister has to decide in relation to this debate and where

:19:40.:19:44.

he takes his department forward is simply is he a Sammy or is he a

:19:45.:19:52.

Swinney? That is the difference between a minister knowing what it

:19:53.:19:57.

is to be in power, John Swinney, the finance secretary, and one two,

:19:58.:20:06.

whilst capable, is more about theatre than substance, which, is

:20:07.:20:13.

the legacy, in my view, of his princess. Now our third and final

:20:14.:20:16.

instalment from the health minister. Before topical questions, Edwin

:20:17.:20:22.

Poots was asked about cancer drugs, flu vaccinations and the major

:20:23.:20:27.

incident at the Odyssey Arena. I think the first responders provided

:20:28.:20:33.

an excellent service at the Odyssey Arena. They dealt with a lot of

:20:34.:20:39.

people at a site, without bringing them to hospital. There were able to

:20:40.:20:42.

provide them with the support and care they needed. Indeed, they

:20:43.:20:50.

initiated a major incident, that was something absolutely necessary and

:20:51.:20:53.

the right thing to do, given the scale of the event that was a caring

:20:54.:20:57.

and the possibility that it could have got considerably worse. They

:20:58.:21:04.

ensure hospitals were well placed to deal with the numbers that that come

:21:05.:21:08.

in. In response to a recent question I tabled to the education minister

:21:09.:21:12.

that indicated that 50,000 were days were lost amongst the teaching

:21:13.:21:15.

profession last year as a result of flu related illnesses, with the

:21:16.:21:21.

Minister consider working with a minister to extend a flu vaccination

:21:22.:21:26.

programme to teachers? We are targeting schoolchildren because flu

:21:27.:21:29.

is so common and easily spread whenever you get into that

:21:30.:21:32.

environment. Certainly, we want our teachers to be teaching, not sitting

:21:33.:21:37.

at home sick, and I'm sure they want to be teaching as well. If that is

:21:38.:21:40.

something the education minister wishes to take up with me, I am

:21:41.:21:48.

happy to liaise with him. The cancer programme in England has granted NHS

:21:49.:21:53.

access to a 238 drugs that are not available here. Would the Minister

:21:54.:21:59.

consider a Cancer Drugs Fund model year or approaching his counterparts

:22:00.:22:08.

to address this inequality? Certainly, and if they approached me

:22:09.:22:12.

to do it I would do it very quickly. That would be charging something for

:22:13.:22:16.

perceptions once again, which would allow others to establish a

:22:17.:22:20.

specialist dogs fund, not just for cancer drugs, but for specialist

:22:21.:22:23.

drugs that are not regularly available. -- drugs fund. I think it

:22:24.:22:28.

is the right thing to do. I think any good socialist would want to do

:22:29.:22:32.

it because those of us who could afford to pay for drugs would ensure

:22:33.:22:36.

that people who really need them but can't afford them would have the

:22:37.:22:40.

opportunity to receive them. We would save people's lives. The

:22:41.:22:45.

busiest man in Parliament buildings today, Edwin Poots. The environment

:22:46.:22:49.

Minister Mark H Durkan said he would consider a ban on election posters

:22:50.:22:53.

during his questions today. The minister was also asked about one in

:22:54.:22:57.

the consumption of alcohol on buses. His session began with some

:22:58.:23:00.

confusion over planning applications. With the Minister

:23:01.:23:05.

detail any sensitive planning applications which he is currently

:23:06.:23:09.

discussing to transfer to OFM DFM, or is likely or intending to discuss

:23:10.:23:16.

such a matter with them soon? Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Thank you

:23:17.:23:26.

for the supplementary. Any failure to answer the supplementary will not

:23:27.:23:29.

be a deliberate attempt to avoid answering it, it will just be down

:23:30.:23:32.

to a complete lack of understanding as to what he means. I am the

:23:33.:23:43.

Minister for the environment. My department is responsible for making

:23:44.:23:46.

planning decisions and I am currently involved in no

:23:47.:23:49.

negotiations with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. I am

:23:50.:23:55.

fairly certain that my department is not involved in any conversations

:23:56.:23:57.

with the Department of the First Minister, or the Deputy First

:23:58.:24:04.

Minister, around the transfer of any particular application, sensitive or

:24:05.:24:07.

otherwise. However, if there is a particular application that he would

:24:08.:24:15.

like to discuss with me, or with OFM, DFM, I would be happy to meet

:24:16.:24:20.

with him at a later stage. Can I ask the minister if he has given any

:24:21.:24:25.

consideration to review the legislation relating to the display

:24:26.:24:30.

of election posters, including a ban on election posters? Under the

:24:31.:24:35.

legislation as it stands, planning rights to all parties in advance of

:24:36.:24:49.

an election, reminding them of the requirements. Under planning law, no

:24:50.:24:53.

advertising and may be displayed without consent granted at the

:24:54.:24:57.

department, but exemptions exist for election posters in advance of a

:24:58.:25:03.

pending election. The display of election posters is a cause of

:25:04.:25:06.

annoyance for many members of the public and political parties are

:25:07.:25:10.

reminded of this annoyance every time we have an election. They are

:25:11.:25:14.

also a headache for those of us who have to put them up and take them

:25:15.:25:17.

down, although I have been told that my days as a poster boy might be

:25:18.:25:24.

over. It is an issue I am very much aware of. It is something I am

:25:25.:25:28.

willing to look at. I have been considering a review of current

:25:29.:25:33.

legislation in advance of the media interest in this particular issue.

:25:34.:25:38.

As part of that review, I will examine a range of options,

:25:39.:25:45.

including a ban. Has the minister had any update in respect of the

:25:46.:25:48.

allegations Rambus is being used to ferry alcohol at the weekend towards

:25:49.:25:55.

the Odyssey Arena? -- allegations of buses being used. Thank you for that

:25:56.:26:03.

question. I have just answered Mr Eastwood's question and I see this

:26:04.:26:07.

very much as a follow-on to that. Yes, I am aware of alcohol

:26:08.:26:13.

consumption on many buses and coaches responsible for taking young

:26:14.:26:17.

people to the event at the Odyssey on Thursday night. That is something

:26:18.:26:23.

I have said we had to address. We have to deal as a department,

:26:24.:26:30.

weighing gauge, with the proprietors -- we have to engage with the

:26:31.:26:34.

proprietors of the buses and make sure they were taking every step

:26:35.:26:37.

possible to ensure that alcohol was not being consumed on their bus,

:26:38.:26:47.

particularly by minors. Sam McBride has joined me. We just heard from

:26:48.:26:52.

Jo-Anne Dobson earlier about organ donation, something she is clearly

:26:53.:26:56.

passionate about. Where is the DUP on this? We seem to have

:26:57.:26:59.

contradictory positions from the First Minister, the health minister,

:27:00.:27:03.

Alistair Ross, preserving his own agenda? It's an unusual position to

:27:04.:27:10.

seek the DUP or Sinn Fein MLAs take radically different positions on

:27:11.:27:14.

this. Some people in the DUP feel extremely strongly and they are

:27:15.:27:17.

willing to come out and say they disagree with the position the First

:27:18.:27:21.

Minister seems to be adopting. Last week, Peter Robinson released quite

:27:22.:27:26.

an intriguing statement, where he said he supported both his own the

:27:27.:27:31.

UUP MLA Alistair Ross's bill, but also Jo-Anne Dobson's bill, even

:27:32.:27:35.

though a lot of people would see them as being close to, if not

:27:36.:27:40.

completely, mutually exclusive. He is in a somewhat difficult position.

:27:41.:27:44.

But in many ways, these pills and the issue of human trafficking, this

:27:45.:27:50.

is the normal politics that happens in any legislative area in the

:27:51.:27:55.

world. In that regard, it's not unusual that in a big party,

:27:56.:28:00.

increasingly a broader church than it used to be, the DUP will have

:28:01.:28:04.

people that take different editions on what is pretty much an issue of

:28:05.:28:09.

conscious. How do you see the debate unfolding? The DUP has various

:28:10.:28:14.

issues on how it recedes. Then we have Jo-Anne Dobson, clear in the

:28:15.:28:18.

studio, that she is going to pursue her agenda and try to get her

:28:19.:28:21.

private members bill through as soon as possible. She seems very

:28:22.:28:25.

determined, she was very articulate in terms of how she got it across.

:28:26.:28:30.

She clearly has a story in terms of her son which is very persuasive.

:28:31.:28:33.

When she says people will die if it is not taken forward, I think it's a

:28:34.:28:37.

difficult argument to counter. I think Alistair Ross's argument has a

:28:38.:28:41.

certain amount of merit in that he is saying that the evidence from

:28:42.:28:48.

other countries is that the best way to get people onto a register is not

:28:49.:28:53.

to make them feel they are being forced onto it. I think there is a

:28:54.:28:56.

genuine split and I don't think, that some people have assumed, that

:28:57.:29:00.

this is the DUP trying to block a bill, I think it is very much a

:29:01.:29:03.

difference of opinion within the DUP. Some people think it would be a

:29:04.:29:07.

popular measure, they would be happy to see it go through, Alistair Ross

:29:08.:29:11.

does not. A different political debate. And, isn't it? Don't forget

:29:12.:29:17.

to join me for The View on Thursday night at 10:35 on BBC One. Thanks

:29:18.:29:19.

for watching. Goodbye.

:29:20.:29:22.

A political programme focusing on the day's events at the Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive. Mark Carruthers is the guide through the corridors of power at Stormont, and is joined by key people from decision makers to opinion formers to make the experience enlightening and entertaining.


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