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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 September 2006, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Shadow 'cast over Scotland deal'
Sir Reg Empey
Sir Reg Empey queried the use of the St Andrews talks
The leader of the Ulster Unionist Party has accused the DUP of casting a shadow over the inter-party talks planned for Scotland next month.

Sir Reg Empey called for a rethink about going to St Andrew's in light of remarks by the DUP's Lord Morrow.

Lord Morrow said in the assembly on Tuesday that Sinn Fein was "not fit for government".

He said anyone "holding their breath waiting for the 24 November deadline to be met could forget it".

Sir Reg said that Lord Morrow's party leader, Ian Paisley, had said chances of agreement were slim, "but he still left the door open".

'Question mark'

"Lord Morrow went out of his way to slam the door yesterday and I think the secretary of state has to address that," he said.

"Indeed, it puts a question mark over the whole process, because if it is clear that the DUP is not interested at this stage in doing any business, what is the purpose of all of us spending public money to go to Scotland?"

The British government has laid down 24 November as the deadline for a deal to be reached over the restoration of devolution.

The main parties meet in the Scottish town of St Andrews month in October.

Devolution was suspended in October 2002 over allegations of a republican spy ring.

The court case that followed collapsed and one of those charged, Denis Donaldson, later admitted working as a British agent.




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