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David Ford in threat to resign over row

By Liam Clarke

David Ford is considering resigning as Justice Minister in response to Sinn Fein and DUP plans to scrap the Department of Education and Learning (DEL).

The Alliance leader has said he will ask Alliance's ruling party council for guidance on the issue before making a decision.

"That is clearly a key issue that is there to be discussed. We have to consider everything," he said.

Parties have been given until Monday at 5pm to respond to the OFMDFM proposal, but Mr Ford says his party will not meet this deadline. Instead, he will take at least a fortnight to respond so that he can seek the views of his party council, whose next scheduled meeting is in March.

"They (Sinn Fein and the DUP) are asking for responses by Monday but if we need a special meeting of party council that will take about a fortnight," Mr Ford said, adding: "There is no need for the suggestion that this needs to be wrapped up in three or four days. That is playing silly games.

"What you have now is a political carve-up to deprive us of our entitlement."

The proposals appear to specify that Mr Ford should hold the justice ministry till the end of the Assembly term.

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