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Lord Kilclooney in call for move on opposition

By Liam Clarke

Published 21/12/2015

Alternative: Lord Kilclooney
Alternative: Lord Kilclooney

Former UUP minister Lord Kilclooney has given his strong backing to the party entering opposition, and has urged it to form a common platform with the SDLP.

Kilclooney, formerly John Taylor, is our longest serving parliamentarian.

He has been a member of various parliaments and assemblies from the old Stormont, where he was Minister of Home Affairs.

He was formerly deputy leader of the UUP. A famously independent thinker, he now sits in the House of Lords as a cross-bencher.

Kilclooney believes his former party must provide an alternative to voters.

"The Ulster Unionists and the SDLP were in rapid decline and the only way they could rescue themselves was to say they had an alternative to offer," he said.

"To be credible the alternative must be a cross-party operation between them."

He added: "People will start to vote for them if they see them offering an alternative."

The 77-year-old sees that as a way of strengthening power-sharing devolution while moving politics away from orange and green issues like the border.

He would also welcome the UK Labour Party organising here or the Northern Ireland Labour Party, which folded in 1987, reforming.

"I would like to see the Labour Party back in the mix, it would strengthen politics here and it would shake things up in places like east Belfast," he said.

Kilclooney, who was deputy to David Trimble during the Good Friday negotiations, has a wealth of interesting stories from that pivotal period in Northern Ireland's history.

The Big Interview, pages 20-21

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