01 August 2019
The DUP’s East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has called on the Northern Ireland Secretary of State to reinstate photographs of Her Majesty The Queen in Stormont House.
Mr Robinson said,
“Whilst the Secretary of State Julian Smith has a small photograph of Her Majesty The Queen in his office, this does not address the wider issue. He needs to act.
The Equality Commission has explained how these photographs were not automatically incompatible with the work environment. The Secretary of State should engage with the Equality Commission to understand the parameters.
Sinn Fein should also give leadership on this issue, to show they respect the constitutional reality. When people say they want respect and tolerance, it is important that these very attributes are shown to the position of Northern Ireland where the head of state is The Queen. There should be an acknowledgement that people have an identity, which should be displayed and understood in an appropriate way.
We cannot have a society in which we strip colour and identity out. That will only ruin community relations and will not help society to move forward together.
The DUP has raised this issue with the Prime Minister and the Northern Ireland Secretary of State. There should be a sensible approach to issues like this. The portrait should be reinstated forthwith. The Northern Ireland Office should reflect the reality that it is a branch of the United Kingdom government. There is no shame in that.
I will also be working to understand the full context of how this position came about, how it was resolved in this way and how a similar situation would be handled in the future. The public deserve answers.”