The Government last night sparked a row over the devolution of policing and justice powers to Northern Ireland after a letter outlining a side deal with the DUP was accidentally sent to Sinn Fein.
Republicans produced a letter signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and addressed to DUP leader Peter Robinson offering £20 million to former part-time police officers.
Sinn Fein branded it a bid to “buy off” DUP support for the devolution of the justice powers and claimed Government risked bringing the process into disrepute.
Republicans claimed the letter was sent, apparently mistakenly, to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister at Stormont where mail is accessed by both Sinn Fein and the DUP.
Sinn Fein junior minister Gerry Kelly said the effort to transfer policing and justice powers “is being brought into disrepute by the British Government's willingness to buy off the DUP”.