Karen Bradley criticised for refusing to take journalists’ questions

The Northern Ireland Secretary has been criticised by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) for showing “apparent contempt” by refusing to take their questions.

Karen Bradley did not field any queries after she gave a minute-long update on the political talks on Thursday.

Irish Tanaiste Simon Coveney spoke for 10 minutes and answered six questions.

Ciaran O Maolain, a member of the NUJ’s national executive and the secretary of the union’s Belfast branch, told the BBC: “We all want to see progress in politics and that requires informed debate, transparency and honesty on all sides.

“For a Government minister to treat journalists with apparent contempt – refusing to take a single question when so many important issues are being discussed – does nothing to advance the political process.”

Mrs Bradley has been attempting to engineer the restoration of powersharing at Stormont.

During her spell in the Northern Ireland Office she has answered journalists’ queries repeatedly on a range of subjects.

But she has also been criticised over a number of her comments, including the suggestion in Parliament earlier this year that killings by British soldiers during the Troubles were not crimes.

She later apologised.

The Irish government has been among those expressing confidence in her ability as minister.

The powersharing institutions have been in deep freeze for around two-and-a-half years following a row between the DUP and Sinn Fein over the botched green energy scheme.

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