Page last updated at 12:11 GMT, Saturday, 24 October 2009 13:11 UK

Empey warns DUP over justice deal

Sir Reg Empey
Sir Reg Empey said his party would reject a back room deal

The executive must be fully involved in any decision to devolve policing and justice powers to Northern Ireland, Sir Reg Empey has told the UUP conference.

Sir Reg told delegates in Belfast that the UUP would reject a "backroom deal" between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

He also warned both parties that any justice deal needed the backing of all NI's main parties to win support.

Sir Reg said his party would oppose any move to appoint an Alliance "puppet" justice minister.

"I want to expose the lie at the heart of the executive - the belief that the DUP and Sinn Fein can go it alone and hope to build confidence," he said.

"They can't and they won't.

"While Peter Robinson said this week that he will not do this policing deal without this party, I must tell him that there will be no support from us for any backroom deal.

"We have set out our terms for this devolution, so Peter there will be a price.

"There must be an open and transparent process to reconstruct the executive and make it work as a full four party coalition.

"No more dysfunctional meetings; and we must resolve the policy stalemates that are still there. We simply won't allow things to continue as they are."

'Double-jobbing'

Earlier, Conservative deputy leader William Hague said his party would end the practice of NI politicians holding seats in both the assembly and Westminster if they won the next election.

Mr Hague also said his party wanted to see devolution completed.

"We want to see devolution completed including the transfer of policing and justice powers, but that should only happen when there is genuine cross-community support," he added.

Mr Hague told delegates that the link-up between the Conservatives and Ulster Unionists would strengthen the union.

William Hague
William Hague said Northern Ireland can play an important part in the UK

The UUP and the Conservative party have agreed to field joint candidates in the next Westminster election.

"I want to explain how Northern Ireland can shape the future destiny of our country by helping to get rid of this discredited Labour government and putting David Cameron into Downing Street," Mr Hague added.

"For the first time in decades, Northern Ireland can play a real part in helping to shape the destiny of our country.

"Our aim is clear. We want to end the semi-detached political status of Northern Ireland and bring you back into the mainstream of United Kingdom politics."

Mr Hague also said any future Conservative government would refuse to fund any future costly inquiries into the Troubles

He said that while he had accepted the need for the Saville Inquiry into the deaths of the 14 civilians killed on Bloody Sunday, he expressed concerns that the investigation had cost taxpayers £200m.

"It's time for Northern Ireland to move forward," he added.

Sir Reg Empey's speech in full to the UUP Party Conference



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