Government accused of #JeffreyMandering by changing the rules to let MPs also be MLAs…

The government is proposing the temporary return of dual mandates, MPs can also run as MLAs. This is being widely seen as a move to enable Jeffrey Donaldson to become an MLA but he can also maintain his MP status. His Lagan Valley seat is seen as vulnerable to Alliance so the DUP are doing all they can to avoid a by-election.

All the other political parties have condemned the move. From the Belfast Telegraph report:

Ulster Unionist leader Doug Beattie accused the Northern Ireland Office of “directly supporting the DUP election campaign”.

TUV leader Jim Allister claimed it was a “shameless fix”.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill called it “blatant and disgraceful interference”, while the SDLP and Alliance said their three MPs will vote against the mandate when comes to the House of Commons.

Alliance leader Naomi Long, who quit Belfast City Council and the Assembly after being elected as East Belfast MP in 2010, said it was “a seriously retrograde step”.

Proponents of the move point out that this would bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK. For example, the current Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross sits as both an MP and an MSP.

Could the plans also be seen as an admission by the DUP that they don’t have enough big names to run in both elections?

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