Northern Ireland

Owen Paterson is a 'complete tube' - Gerry Adams

Gerry Adams and Owen Paterson (Reuters and PA) Image copyright PA
Image caption Gerry Adams had no issue with Mr Paterson's pay suggestion

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has called ex-minister Owen Paterson a "complete tube" when asked about his comments on politicians' pay.

Former NI secretary Mr Paterson has suggested politicians should not have their salaries paid by the taxpayer if they cannot reach an agreement.

When asked about it in an interview, Mr Adams said: "First of all, let me say that Owen Paterson is a complete tube".

But he said it was "fair enough" if the government wanted to stop salaries.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One, Mr Adams qualified his opinion of Mr Paterson, who was the Conservative shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland from 2007 and then secretary of state for Northern Ireland from May 2010 to September 2012.

The Sinn Féin president said he introduced Mr Paterson to relatives of people killed in the Ballymurphy massacre when he was shadow secretary of state.

"He was moved almost to tears by their account," he said. "When he became secretary of state a few months later he completely changed and did nothing about the issues which they want dealt with."

Public purse

During an urgent statement on Northern Ireland in the Commons on Tuesday, Mr Paterson said withholding pay from Stormont politicians might "crystallise minds".

He asked the present Secretary of State James Brokenshire: "Would you agree with me that there is one measure that would put pressure on the parties to come back to the talks and might crystallise minds, and that would be to make it clear that should the elected members not form the executive after a lengthy period of negotiation then their salaries and expenses will not be paid from the public purse?"

Mr Brokenshire pledged to keep "all options under consideration" in his efforts to form a new executive.

Stormont politicians - MLAs - are set to get a pay rise from 1 April, when wages will rise by £500 per year, bringing salaries to £49,500.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has not had a full day's sitting for months after the Democratic Unionist Party/Sinn Féin power-sharing administration collapsed in January amid a row over a botched green energy scheme.

Since a snap election earlier this month, the parties have been locked in negotiations but have yet to reach an agreement on forming a new executive.

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