Secretary of State 'did not understand' NI voting patterns" width="976" height="549">
Secretary of State Karen Bradley was appointed to the post in January
The Secretary of State has been dubbed a 'slow learner' after revealing she initially did not understand that nationalists did not vote for unionist parties during elections.Karen Bradley revealed she did not realise campaigns are generally fought within each part of the community.She told The House magazine that it was "a very different world from the world I came from".Mrs Bradley was appointed in January to replace James Brokenshire.Mr Brokenshire stepped down for medical reasons.
"I didn't understand things like when elections are fought for example in Northern Ireland - people who are nationalists don't vote for unionist parties and vice-versa," Mrs Bradley told House magazine, a weekly publication for the Houses of Parliament."So, the parties fight for election within their own community."Actually, the unionist parties fight the elections against each other in unionist communities and nationalists in nationalist communities," she added.
'Slow learner'
The South Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir criticised Mrs Bradley: "I knew that Karen Bradley moved particularly slowly when it came to delivering rights and justice to our community, but I didn't realise she was such a slow learner as well."However, the East Antrim DUP MLA Gordon Lyons said Mrs Bradley's lack of knowledge was understandable."Obviously it is going to be a steep learning curve for anyone who is coming into the Northern Ireland brief," he said. "I think actually Karen Bradley was giving an honest answer about what she understood about Northern Ireland before she came in here"
'A very different world'
Northern Ireland has been without an executive since January 2017 after a bitter row between the governing parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein.On Thursday Mrs Bradley announced that she intended to cut Stormont Assembly members' pay.Karen Bradley has also ruled out calling a fresh Assembly election and she is to bring forward legislation to allow civil servants to make decisions in the absence of devolution.MLA pay will fall in November from "I freely admit that when I started this job, I didn't understand some of the deep-seated and deep-rooted issues that there are in Northern Ireland."
Karen Bradley
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