15 May 2006

PUP leader’s move prompts row among unionist parties


15/05/2006 - 13:43:06

The Democratic Unionist Party in the North is now refusing to share power with the Ulster Unionists following PUP leader David Irvine's decision to join the latter's Assembly grouping.

Mr Irvine is aligning himself with the UUP in the newly-reconvened Stormont Assembly as part of a move designed to ensure unionist dominance of any power-sharing Executive.

The move gives the unionist party the right to claim an extra ministerial seat at the expense of Sinn Féin.

However, it has angered the DUP, which is now refusing to enter any power-sharing arrangement with the UUP due to Mr Irvine's links with loyalist paramilitaries.

Mr Irvine's Progressive Unionist Party is regarded as the political wing of the Ulster Volunteer Force, which is not on ceasefire and which is deeply involved in drugs, extortion and violence.

Speaking at Stormont today, DUP leader Ian Paisley said: "If people want to be aligned with any form of terrorism, whether it be Protestant or Roman Catholic, they have no right in the government here."

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