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Why does Nigel need the UUP to hold his hand?

I AM curious why Nigel Dodds is now of the opinion that Ulster Unionist support is vital to the Hillsborough Deal going ahead.

It was Nigel Dodds himself who assured us not that long ago that policing and justice would not be devolved for "a political lifetime".

The Ulster Unionist Party's support was neither required nor sought by the DUP when they negotiated the Hillsborough Agreement with Sinn Fein.

The DUP has cooked up a cosy deal with Sinn Fein whereby the Alliance Party will be handed the Policing and Justice Ministry plus whatever other secret side-deals they may have agreed to.

I am at a loss to understand why Mr Dodds needs the Ulster Unionist party to hold his hand.

He obviously hasn't much confidence in the Hillsborough Agreement. If the support of Sinn Fein and Alliance is enough to negotiate the deal, then it should be enough to help the DUP sell it.

The Ulster Unionist Party has been crystal-clear from the outset that the most important issue facing government in Northern Ireland is the need to ensure the smooth running of the Executive, with particular emphasis on sorting out the fiasco in the education system.

This will decide whether the Ulster Unionists vote for, against or choose to abstain in any vote on the Hillsborough Agreement.

DAVID McCLARTY (UUP)

MLA for East Londonderry

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