Belfast Telegraph

Onus is on Assembly to show politics works, PUP chief tells party

BY BRIAN ROWAN

A loyalist leader has said there is an onus on the Assembly to prove that politics works.

Former prisoner and one-time MLA Billy Hutchinson was speaking ahead of today's PUP conference, where he will use his speech to set out a vision for the party.

Interviewed by this newspaper, he asked: "Are we ready for peace?

"Can society accept we are part of the UK and accept the political principles of the UK – the things that apply elsewhere?"

His party's conference comes against the backdrop of the fallout over flags and marching – sparked by what Mr Hutchinson calls a republican "cultural war".

"Our vision is certainly placed within the UK," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"How do we deal with 'de-Britification'?" he asked.

"Republicans need to accept where we are at."

The former city councillor and North Belfast MLA is leader of a party with political links to the UVF.

And, just 10 days ago, the PSNI revealed that the paramilitary group is currently the subject of an organised crime probe.

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