Welfare cuts: DUP leader didn’t support Martin McGuinness’s lobby for Westminster rethink

MARTIN McGUINNESS has hit back at claims by DUP leader Peter Robinson on BBC TV’s  The View on Thursday night that a deal had been struck on welfare cuts with Sinn Féin.

The DUP leader has threatened “nuclear options” if Sinn Féin does not accept the cuts agenda imposed by the Tories and Liberal Democrats from Westminster.

Joint First Minister McGuinness said that he raised the issue of welfare cuts once at 10 Downing Street with British Prime Minister David Cameron and twice with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Cabinet Office.

“Peter Robinson never offered one word of support for a rethink on welfare cuts and the only support I received was from my Scottish colleagues,” Martin McGuinness said.

He said that Sinn Féin is the only party in the Assembly “standing up for the poor and the vulnerable from all communities” on the issue of welfare cuts.

He added:

“When Peter Robinson talks about a failure to deliver, we should remind ourselves that Peter Robinson has failed to deliver on the Education and Skills Authority and the Maze/Long Kesh Peace Project.

“Both of these were Programme for Government commitments signed up to by Peter Robinson and his party.

“Peter Robinson also failed to stand united in government with me in condemnation of UVF-orchestrated violence, particularly in Belfast. He has failed to deliver on the Haass proposals on flags, parades and the past.

“He and his party are oblivious to the £30million policing bill for the protest at Twaddell Avenue in north Belfast and now they want to hand back powers on welfare.

“The only way to resolve these issues is by mature leadership, sitting down with Executive colleagues and finding a resolution rather than grandstanding on the media and presuming to speak for me.”