Round of the week's political news from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
• The BBC Trust concluded that the corporation’s coverage of devolution has significantly improved.
• Scotland’s galleries were preparing for cuts to their Government grants.
• Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, made clear that the Calman recommendations were the only realistic reforms to Holyrood.
• Writing over the release of the Lockable bomber, Senator Frank Lautenberg concluded: “I am pleading for direct representation from the Scottish government at our U.S. Senate hearing next week to help us seek answers.”
• Justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, put pressure on the US to allow communications between it and the Scottish Government to be published.
• Leading universities were critical of a proposed shake up of the system of funding research.
• In its response to the Scottish Affairs committee report on the release of the Lockerbie bomber and its communications with Holyrood, the UK Government concluded: “We believe that there are significant lessons from this disagreement that have already been learnt.”
• There were concerns that the SNP were paving the way for the closure of a number of small rural schools.
• The SNP were reported to be preparing to scupper Nick Clegg’s referendum on AV.
• New polling showed the number of people supporting further powers for the Assembly Government had fallen.
• In stepping down, Plaid Cymru’s chairman, John Dixon concluded: “There are a number of ways in which I feel that the party has moved, or is moving, in a direction which I cannot support, but being a national office-holder has fettered my freedom to say so.”
• Former first minister Rhodri Morgan came out in support of Ed Miliband’s bid for the Labour leadership, declaring that he had “fire in the belly” to take the party back to government.
• Plaid Cymru AM, Leanne Wood, called for greater support for traumatised soldiers.
• Thirty per cent of people in Wales were unhappy with arrangements for the general election.
• There were mounting concerns over plans to cut the number of Welsh constituencies.
• Irish president Mary McAleese warned of the dangers the Police Service of Northern Ireland continued to face from dissident republicans.
• A Loyalist parades group, including members of the Loyal Orders, has agreed to hold talks with Gerry Adams.
• There was a warning that Northern Ireland faces £1 billion of cuts between now and 2015.
• It was announced that the death of Bobby Moffatt would be subject to a special investigation by the Independent Monitoring Commission.
• Former DUP leader, Ian Paisley, described as a “non-runner” suggestions of a single unionist party whilst accepting the prospects of a Sinn Fein first minister if that was the will of the people; Peter Robinson reaffirmed his call for a single unionist party.
• Conservative MP, Kris Hopkins, attacked the ability of Sinn Fein MPs to claim expenses.
• Confidence in the way the general election was run was higher in Northern Ireland than any other part of the UK.
• The Northern Ireland government published its plans for tackling sectarianism.
• The first and deputy first minister announced they had no plans to recruit a new victims Commissioner.
• Education minister Caitriona Ruane approved plans for four new Irish language schools despite a number of unfilled places elsewhere.
• The policing board backed the PSNI’s handling of the Ardoyne protests.
• Three quarters of Northern Ireland’s main parties were in the red.
Quote of the Week
“I suppose the real test of any politician isn’t when the waters are still and the sun is shining, it is how they cope with adversity. In some cases whether they do cope with adversity.”
Northern Ireland first minister, Peter Robinson, speaking to the Newsletter about the pressures following his wife Iris’s affair
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