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Why Ulster Unionists do not trust the Tories

Published 18/02/2010

The actions of the Ulster Unionist Party following the DUP's successful negotiations at Hillsborough are an explicit demonstration of why the electorate should avoid the Conservative Unionist - New Force.

First, their stance is hugely hypocritical, given that they were the party which, as part of a failed deal in 2003, wanted to devolve policing and justice to a Sinn Fein minister at a time when republicans were still armed and opposed to the rule of law.

Second, and more important, this is a very open rejection by the UUP of the leadership of David Cameron and Owen Paterson.

Within hours of the Hillsborough deal being announced, both the Conservative leader and his Shadow Secretary of State had come out in support of it, while the Ulster Unionists sulked.

The message they have sent out was loud and clear: you can't trust the Tories on policing and justice. Either David Cameron is right, in which case the UUP have got it wrong, or the Tory leader is gravely mistaken.

It's obvious, by the Ulster Unionists's refusal to back the deal in the same manner as the Conservatives, that they believe Cameron has got it wrong.

So, following Ulster Unionist logic, if David Cameron and the Tories can't be trusted on something so fundamental as policing and justice, then they can't be trusted on anything else.

The Conservative Unionist New Force will shortly be looking for your support at the Westminster elections and my only word of advice is this: don't let them make a mug out of you.

TOM SMITH

Donaghadee, Co Down

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