TUV leader Jim Allister launched a vicious attack on the Executive and his former DUP colleagues as he vowed to his party faithful to bring down Stormont’s power sharing arrangements.
In a rowdy address at the Traditional Unionist Voice annual conference in east Belfast, the former DUP man accused the Executive of being the most “wretched, useless government anywhere in the western world”.
He also accused DUP leader Peter Robinson of “clinging to a sinking ship” as he spelled out hopes of bringing down power-sharing arrangements.
The fledgling party said it plans to use its strength among disaffected unionists angry at Sinn Fein's inclusion in government to build political opposition to power-sharing.
Mr Allister, whose party made a substantial dent in the DUP vote at the European elections, demanded the abolition of the current Stormont structures of government and their replacement with an “efficient, democratic” administration.
A motion argued the present institutions “do not provide a stable foundation on which to build the future of Northern Ireland”.
Former United Kingdom Unionist Party leader Robert McCartney told the conference he believed the DUP would continue to “pull the same confidence trick” on the electorate they had managed in the last Assembly elections.
“There have been references to Lundy — six months prior (to the last election) Ian Paisley told us Sinn Fein would go into government over his dead body,” he added.
The former North Down MP and MLA, a special guest at the Belfast event, said he believed the DUP will “cave in” over the schools transfer controversy and, “as they have done before, abandon all their principles.”
Party vice-chairman Keith Harbinson warned DUP leader Peter Robinson “the current tide flowing throughout unionism is far too strong for you to hope to row back up stream.”
The First Minister had conceded the present system is unworkable but could not make changes without the support of deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness who would not agree, he added.
Larne member Tom Robinson said unionists were being conditioned “to give up being unionists” but unlike other parties the TUV would not “roll over”.
The conference also called for the scrapping of the controversial Eames/ Bradley report on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles “in its entirety”.
The motion demanded immediate amendment of 2006 legislation equating perpetrators and victims — which the DUP is attempting to change — which it called a “disgraceful insult” to innocent victims.
Another motion said the TUV is implacably opposed to the transfer of policing and justice powers to a “failed” Executive in which Sinn Fein — for whom it is a key demand — exercises “a power of veto”.
Proposing, Fermanagh branch chairman Samuel Morrison said republicans were keen to have a justice minister so they could claim to have brought an end to British policing in Ireland
Devolving policing and justice to an Executive where Martin McGuinness, Conor Murphy and Gerry Kelly could be given sight of policing issues was “treachery”, Mr Morrison, who is also TUV press officer, added and the only time he wanted to see Mr McGuinness standing beside the PSNI chief constable was “in a pair of handcuffs.”
Meanwhile, veteran Ulster Unionist MP William Ross launched a blistering attack on his former party's link-up with the Conservatives.
The man who represented East Londonderry in Parliament for the UUP for more than 25 years argued claims that the new pact puts Ulster policitians at the heart of government able to influence policy on Northern Ireland are “balderdash”.