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DUP rallying round Sammy after vote of no confidence

Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson

By Noel McAdam

The DUP last night rallied to support Environment Minister Sammy Wilson as he faced increasing pressure to resign over his stance on global warming.

The Executive member lost the confidence of the official Stormont committee which monitors both him and his department after SDLP, Sinn Fein and Ulster Unionist MLAs combined forces.

It is believed to be the first time since devolution was restored that a scrutiny committee has formally passed a motion of ‘no confidence’ in an Executive Minister.

But DUP members of the committee accused their colleagues of scoring petty political points and said it was clear the parties are already in election mode.

The resignation demands came after Mr Wilson defended banning a series of government television adverts warning of global warning, and how families can act to help, from being screened on Ulster Television. He described the ads as “insidious New Labour propaganda”.

SDLP environment spokesman Tommy Gallagher, who proposed the motion, said: “We have put down a marker. Now it is over to the DUP. Mr Wilson’s remarks this week and his views on climate change have made the North the laughing stock of the world.

“Our stance is that the Minister’s remarks are seen as outrageous and his approach is a very small-minded one.”

Daithí McKay, of Sinn Fein, which seconded the vote of no confidence, said Mr Wilson’s actions, particularly on climate change, were “totally unacceptable”, adding: “The Minister believes that people have no impact on climate change, despite the fact that experts and scientists across the globe are saying that they do.”

UUP environment spokesperson Roy Beggs said the vote could not be unheeded.

“The Minister is left with only two possibilities — stop using his position to promote anti-environment views or resign.”

DUP members on the committee, Peter Weir, Alastair Ross, Ian McCrea and Trevor Clarke said the motion was all about personal agendas rather than the Minister's performance.

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