By Rebecca Black, PA
The reform of devolved government at Stormont is “urgently needed”.
Alliance leader Naomi Long was speaking after the latest collapse of the Assembly last week amid a boycott by the DUP in protest at Brexit’s Northern Ireland Protocol.
The institutions have been in flux since February when First Minister Paul Givan (DUP) resigned.
Previously the Assembly was collapsed for almost three years after former deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (Sinn Féin) resigned during a scandal over a botched green energy scheme.
Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris announced on Friday that there will not be an Assembly election in December.
He is set to outline how he plans to proceed next week.
Under current legislation he is obliged to call an election within 12 weeks of the deadline for forming a new executive having been missed on October 28nd.
Ms Long welcomed the move to rule out an election in December, but urged Mr Heaton-Harris to “go further and recognise real reform of the institutions is urgently needed”.
She said devolved government “cannot be allowed to continue in this cycle of dysfunction – allowing one party to bring us to a standstill”.
“It’s time to end ransom politics,” she said.
“The Secretary of State has listened so far on the issue of elections, he now needs to listen to Alliance on the issue of reform. It is the only way to deliver effective Government and much-needed, lasting stability for the people of Northern Ireland.
“And while the full threat of an election still remains, I would urge the DUP to use this time to think of the impact they are having on local people – on those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and those caught up in the failing health service. Their shameful boycott has to end.”