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A Tory MP wants to stop politicians' wages in the North. Gerry Adams just called him a 'tube'

Owen Paterson, a former Northern Ireland Secretary, thinks withholding pay might “crystallise minds”.

GERRY ADAMS GAVE a slightly unexpected response this morning when asked about a suggestion by a former Northern Ireland Secretary that Stormont politicians should have their wages stopped as the post-election talks impasse continues.

Withholding pay from MLAs might help ”crystallise minds” and prevent lengthy negotiations, Conservative Owen Paterson, who served in the role under David Cameron, said earlier this week.

Asked about the proposal on RTÉ’s Today programme this morning, the Sinn Féin leader responded by calling Paterson a “tube”.

“First let me say that Owen Paterson is a complete tube,” Adams said – using a term generally taken to mean fool or idiot.

He insisted that Paterson had done nothing to address demands from Catholic communities for inquests into historical events when he was Northern Secretary between 2010 and 2012. Adams said the Conservative government was withholding money set aside for such inquests.

Paterson originally raised his suggestion with current Northern Secretary James Brokenshire:

Does he agree that one measure that could put pressure on the parties to come back to the talks and that might crystallise minds would be to make it clear that, should the elected Members not form the Executive after a lengthy period of negotiation, their salaries and expenses will not be paid from the public purse?

Brokenshire said in response:

We will be keeping all options under consideration, but the focus has to be on looking to the positive – looking to the outcome that sees parties ​coming together and getting devolved government back on its feet at the earliest opportunity, because that is what people voted for.

The Irish News conducted an online poll yesterday – with the majority of respondents backing Paterson’s suggestion.

Paterson commented on Twitter that the non-scientific survey showed: “Strong support for stopping NI MLAs salaries & expenses payments if they fail to deliver popular demand for a new Executive.”

While perhaps not widely used throughout Ireland, the term “tube” is more common in the North.

It was prominently used in the 2004 Belfast-set canine caper comedy Man About Dog for instance.

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