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UUP should pull out of Stormont: McGimpsey

By Noel McAdam

Published 25/08/2015

A veteran Ulster Unionist has called for the party to pull out of the Stormont Executive.

Chris McGimpey said he had no doubt a majority on the party's ruling council (UUC) would support the move.

Ahead of the party's annual conference in October, the Belfast city councillor warned that Sinn Fein would become "emboldened" if the IRA "gets away" with the killing of Kevin McGuigan. But he admitted party leader Mike Nesbitt would be opposed to withdrawal.

"Mike will be opposed but I have no doubt that a UUC meeting would find a majority in favour. I find little appetite within the UUP for the Executive," the Lisnasharragh councillor said.

"All murder must be treated the same way. It's almost like, 'as long as victims are working-class Catholics then that is OK'. The UUP cannot go along with this irrespective of (Peter) Robinson and the DUP."

Mr McGimpsey denied he was attempting to position the UUP ahead of Assembly elections.

"It's not positioning but a genuine reaction to events. The UUP are, of course, partly responsible as the whole Good Friday Agreement was (Lord David) Trimble's baby. It promised IRA disarmament and disbandment.

"But he collapsed the thing over guns. Robinson will not do that. All we can do is distance ourselves from this Executive mess. We should immediately announce that we are withdrawing from the Executive. We should be in opposition but might leave the door open that if SF are put out we would consider returning.

"How can we work a system with a party that is, at will, permitted to kill citizens?"

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