Saturday, 24 October 2009

The cost of Policing and Justice

THE man who, while Chancellor of the Exchequer was associated with financial prudence, is preparing to write a fat cheque for Policing and Justice. After interminable Downing Street appearances from Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown finally caved in…or did he?

Rumour has it he was threatening to charge the dynamic duo rent, if they popped in for another week of negotiations.

But, with a letter and a Parliamentary statement, Mr Brown’s offer is on the table…£ 1 billion to be precise.

Mr McGuinness was looking particularly chuffed and even the First Minister’s face was showing the faintest trace of a smile.

Mr Robinson did, of course, want the offer ‘Cameron-proofed’. The Conservative leader gave that reassurance.

So with the cheque all but ready to be deposited into the coffers of NI plc, Mr Robinson is running out of ‘confidence-building’ measures to delay on.

He must, however, have been reassured to find that TUV leader Jim Allister’s claim that the PM’s cash offer is really a loan has been scotched by the NIO. Apparently HM Treasury aren’t looking for it to be repaid (imagine the interest payable on £1 billion!)

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