Northern Ireland

NI secretary Karen Bradley 'should get her skates on'

Karen Bradley Image copyright PA
Image caption Karen Bradley was appointed NI secretary in January 2018 - a year after the collapse of the Stormont executive

The NI Secretary Karen Bradley "needs to get her skates on" and restart talks aimed at restoring devolution, a former UUP leader has said.

Lord Empey said he believed a proper process leading to Stormont getting back up and running would have helped with the Brexit deadlock.

He raised the issue during questions in the House of Lords.

Northern Ireland has been without a government since 2017, after a row over a flawed green energy scheme.

Lord Duncan of Springbank said Mrs Bradley had her skates on, but "unfortunately not everyone else is wearing theirs".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The former UUP leader says a renewed Stormont executive could have helped unlock the Brexit deadlock

He is the Parliamentary under-secretary in the Northern Ireland Office.

He told peers that the lack of devolved government remained a challenge for the government, and that not all parties in Northern Ireland are "facing the same direction".

Mediator

Several other peers raised the possibility of appointing an independent mediator to oversee talks.

Lib Dem peer, Lord Bruce, accused the government of "abdicating responsibility" by not getting a facilitator in place.

But Lord Duncan rejected that assertion, and said his government was doing its best to provide "good governance" in Northern Ireland.

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