Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Ukip leader Nigel Farage clears air on victims' contract confusion

Ukip leader Nigel Farage
Ukip leader Nigel Farage

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has moved to clarify comments he made during a trip to Northern Ireland when he indicated he would not sign an electoral pledge to victims of the Troubles.

During a whistle-stop visit to Belfast, Mr Farage indicated he would not be signing up to a contract drawn up by campaigning group Innocent Victims United.

The contract has been signed by Ukip's sole MLA, David McNarry, and its councillor Henry Reilly, the party's European election candidate. It commits signatories to opposing amnesties for Troubles crimes and a Maze peace centre if any H-Blocks are retained.

Asked if he would sign, Mr Farage replied: "No. If Henry wants to sign things in Northern Ireland he can do so... I am not getting involved in individual campaigns."

However, Mr Farage has moved to quell any notion of differences between the national party and its local representatives.

"Let's be absolutely clear on this; I delegate authority to the regional leadership of Ukip across the United Kingdom on issues relating to that region," he said.

"There is nothing in the victims' contract which is at odds with our position nationally and I'm therefore very content for my local leadership to sign the contract on Ukip's behalf.

"The contract sets out a set of principles which are based on fairness and decency and are principles consistent with the ethos of Ukip.

"When asked would I sign the victims' contract, the 'no' answer that I gave is in the context as set out. I am not at odds with the contents of the victims' contract or the position taken by my Northern Ireland leadership team."

However, in a Sunday Life interview Mr Farage advocated drawing a line under the past, something that is close to an amnesty.

He said: "Either everybody must be prosecuted for Troubles-related events or nobody must be prosecuted... maybe we reach a point where we say it's time to put the past behind us."

The DUP's Simon Hamilton described the comments as "loose language" that were tantamount to support for an amnesty.

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