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UUP sparks new row over policing and justice

Another pre-condition has emerged in the long-running saga over the transfer of policing and justice powers.

The UUP, which boycotted the signing of the Hillsborough Agreement, has said it will not back the transfer of powers to Stormont unless consensus can be reached over the 11-plus fiasco.

Leader Sir Reg Empey is demanding a new type of test be implemented in a bid to ease the confusion and stress for thousands of primary school-aged children and their parents.

“If we can’t deal with an issue that is currently devolved such as education then why is there any reason to think we are fit to take on something as controversial as policing and justice,” he told the Guardian newspaper.

“There is only one way to prove that this executive is not dysfunctional and that is to reach consensus on education.”

Meanwhile, leading unionists Nigel Dodds and David McNarry have called for a unionist pact after Sinn Fein topped a poll carried out for the Belfast Telegraph.

The poll, which was carried out in the wake of the policing and justice deal struck at Hillsborough, gave Sinn Fein 21% of the vote, DUP 18% and the UUP in third place at 15%.

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