Oxfam scandal: ministers have ‘serious questions to answer’, say Labour – politics live

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The first female Black Rod has been presented with her ceremonial staff by the Queen, marking the historic appointment.

The monarch invested Sarah Clarke as Lady Usher of the Black Rod in the private audience room at Buckingham Palace, by presenting her with the ebony staff and the chain of office.

Some interesting comments from the leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, who says the presence of the prime minister, Theresa May, and the Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, proved “bit of a distraction” at Stormont yesterday.

While they were welcome, Foster says the arrivals of Varadkar and May, whose Westminster government the DUP props up, interrupted negotiations.

I am hopeful that we will move toward devolution again.

Whether it’s this week, whether it’s in a couple of weeks or whether it’s in a couple of months what I must ensure is that we have an accommodation that everybody feels content with.

There won’t be a stand-alone Irish Language Act – we have always made that very clear, people aren’t going to be forced to learn Irish, there isn’t going to be Irish compulsory in schools, there’s not going to be bilingual signs or quotas in the civil service.

Some of the speculation has actually caused a lot of concern right across the community in Northern Ireland and it’s important that we say that that is not based in reality.

I am the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party so therefore I will be the person that’s put forward by the party to be first minister.

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