Belfast Telegraph

Loyalist Jamie Bryson insists he saw Haass deal drafts

By Rebecca Black

Loyalist Jamie Bryson has stood over claims that he was shown documents during the Haass talks.

Yesterday unionists distanced themselves from claims they they showed him drafts.

Bryson said unionists were “petrified” of doing a deal without the approval of loyalists.

On Monday, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that unionists were having behind-the-scenes conversations with Bryson, as well as Protestant victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer during the Haass talks.

The flag protest spokesman said he felt it was “bizarre in the extreme that the DUP/UUP seem to be going to great lengths to distance themselves from William Frazer and myself”.

He said both had contact with DUP and UUP negotiators during the talks, and that Ulster Unionist members showed him a copy of draft six as well as summaries of drafts four and five. Bryson revealed that draft six included a plan to classify the poppy as a “contentious symbol”.

“I was personally speaking to a number of UUP members and it was from this angle that I received a full copy of draft six and was also emailed summaries of four and five,” he claimed.

UUP MLA Tom Elliott said he was not aware that documents had been shared with the controversial figure, but added: “I am not saying it didn’t happen.”

Further reading

Haass process on verge of collapse

More work needed for deal: Robinson

McGuinness accuses unionists of bowing to 'extreme loyalist agenda'

UUP rejects Haass proposals as unviable and unworkable

Unionists afraid to ratify a Haass deal without us, claim hardliners

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