Northern Ireland

Stormont House Agreement: Theresa Villiers wants deal enforced

Theresa Villiers
Image caption Theresa Villiers said the Stormont House Agreement needed to be enforced

Theresa Villiers has said it is time to get on with the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement.

She was speaking after the Conservatives secured victory in the UK general election.

She said it was important they worked with the "other political parties on our shared goal of rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy".

But Ms Villiers said the agreement needed to be enforced.

'Obligations'

"As a government, we will obviously continue to work with all the Northern Ireland political parties, we think it is important we work with the other political parties on our shared goal of rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy," she said

"But at the heart of the issue here is the Stormont House Agreement, we want to see that implemented, it has got a generous financial package.

"Both the executive and the government undertook obligations, it is now important for it to be implemented.

"I'm saying that the Stormont House Agreement needs to be enforced, it needs to be delivered, I think it was a balanced package, I think it is a big step forward for Northern Ireland and it comes with significant extra resources."

The Conservatives have 331 seats - five more than needed for a Commons majority - their first such victory since 1992.

Mr Cameron's rivals Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage have all resigned after election disappointment.

Ms Villiers has said she would be delighted to continue as Northern Ireland Secretary, but it may be Monday before there is news on the position.

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Media captionPeter Robinson: "Sinn Fein know what they need to do"

DUP leader Peter Robinson said on Friday that Sinn Féin had been given "breathing space" but added that "they know what they need to do in terms of fulfilling their commitment to the Stormont House and Castle agreements".

"It's essential we get down to that work, I will be ready from Monday to sit down to make sure we implement what was agreed by all five of the parties at Stormont Castle in relation to welfare and other issues," he said.

"We detected that it was not going to happen before the election was over, it's now over, we are wanting parties to sit down with us and do business to make sure we can move forward in the assembly and executive."

The DUP won eight seats at the general election.

Mr Robinson gave his view when asked about what influence the party could have at Westminster, given the Conservatives' victory.

"I think it is very clear that the majority of the Conservative Party is such that there will be occasions in the future where the votes of the Democratic Unionist Party will be needed and we will go back to our Northern Ireland plan," he said.

Sinn Féin MLA Martin McGuinness said Northern Ireland parties needed to develop a common approach to address the challenges presented by the new Conservative government.

"We have demonstrated that when all of the executive parties act together we can deliver real change," he said.

He said action must be taken to "avert five more years of cuts to public services".

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