The very latest from the devolved bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, including reaction to the Coalition Government's £6 billion of cuts.
• The head of the Orange Order called for a single, united unionist party, saying: “There is a huge grounds-well of opinion that there must be a drive towards unionist unity or at the very least better joined-up thinking between unionists.” However, Ulster Unionist Partyl MLA Tom Elliott urged the Order to stay out of politics.
• John Larkin QC was appointed Northern Ireland’s first Attorney General for 40 years; he said: “I am grateful for having been given such an historic opportunity to contribute to the rule of law and the good government of Northern Ireland, and I look forward to meeting the challenges of this Office.”
• Finance minister Sammy Wilson’s pragmatic response to this week’s ConDem cuts was simple: “We knew it was coming down the line.”
• Martin McGuiness called for ministers at Stormont to take a 5% pay cut as UUP Health Minister Martin McGimpsey warned: “If I’m faced with further cuts the reality is that will eat very much into the frontline services.”
• UUP MLA Basil McCrea told leader Sir Reg Empey it was time to go now for the good of the Party.
• The new Northern Ireland secretary, Owen Paterson, confirmed that Lord Saville’s inquiry into Bloody Sunday will be published on June 15.
• Ministers will be given greater responsibilities for representing the UK in Europe under Tory plans to “woo” Scotland.
• Former Tory Scottish secretary, Lord Forsyth, branded his party as being “marginal” north of the border.
• Finance Secretary, John Swinney said of the UK Government’s cuts: “The spending cuts outlined by the Treasury risk undermining recovery and damaging our comprehensive work to support the Scottish economy.”
• Responding to the Queen’s speech announcement that Holyrood will gain more power, the SNP’s Westminster leader, Angus Robertson, concluded: “Some of the ideas contained within it have potential to deliver improved economic decision making for Scotland.”
• Former Labour leader and MP for Islywn, Neil Kinnock, came out to support Ed Miliband’s bid for Labour’s top job. “I would say he has got the X-Factor, especially where the X is the sign you put on the voting slip at election time,” he told the Observer.
• In blunt comments, education minister Leighton Andrews concluded: “For too many in Wales, higher education remains a distant, and irrelevant activity, clouded in mystery.”
Quote of the Week
“It’s become clear that Wales and what is best for Welsh communities is not a priority for the ConDem government.”
Plaid Cymru’s Deputy Leader at Cardiff Bay, Helen Mary Jones, the UK Government
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