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Tuesday, May 19, 1998 Published at 04:03 GMT 05:03 UK

Blair fails to woo influential unionist
image: [ Donaldson: PM has failed to win him over ]
Donaldson: PM has failed to win him over

Campaigners for a no vote in Friday's Northern Ireland referendum received a boost when the influential Ulster Unionist Jeffrey Donaldson said he remained their camp.

Jeffrey Donaldson says the Prime Minister cannot change the agreement (2' 04")
Mr Donaldson, who walked out of the Stormont talks before the political agreement was completed on Good Friday, said that the Prime Minister Tony Blair has failed to deal with his concerns.

He comments came as the former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Molyneaux said he would also be voting against the agreement.

[ image: No campaigners believe they have gained ground among Unionists]
No campaigners believe they have gained ground among Unionists
Speaking to BBC Radio Four's The World at One programme, Mr Donaldson said the key issue of allowing paramilitaries and the parties linked to them to take power had been unresolved.

The Stormont agreement failed to offer cast iron guarantees that paramilitaries would be required to give up arms and renounce violence before their representatives would be allowed to become ministers, the MP said.

"The problem for the Prime Minister is he cannot alter the terms of the agreement," said Mr Donaldson.

"The core requirements are missing, that before people like Sinn Fein and the IRA can become ministers, the IRA must declare that the campaign of violence is over and has engaged in decommissioning of weapons."

Flagging support among MPs

Mr Donaldson is a key figure in a group of Ulster Unionist MPs who have refused to toe the line laid down by UUP leader David Trimble.

Mr Trimble hopes for the support of 70% of his party at the ballot box but six of the UUP's 10 MPs are still refusing to back the political settlement.

[ image: Mr Donaldson walked out of the talks before they were completed]
Mr Donaldson walked out of the talks before they were completed
Apart from Mr Donaldson, William Ross, William Thompson, Roy Beggs, Clifford Forsythe and Rev Martin Smyth say the deal is unacceptable.

Friday's referendum will see the six vote no at the ballot box - putting them in the same camp as Republican Sinn Fein and other breakaway republican groups.

Mr Donaldson said: "The prospect of having Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness become ministers in Northern Ireland, I cannot support that.

"Neither can I support the premature release of prisoners, some of whom are mass murderers.

"In a democratic society people are entitled to democratic government where the lines between terrorism and democracy are clear.

"I don't think that the people in England, Scotland or Wales would want the representatives of terrorism in their government without the terrorists ending their campaign of violence, so why should we."

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In this section

Trimble and Hume centre stage for referendum

Good Morning Ulster - Ian Paisley Live

Blair: 'It's so easy to say No'

De-commissioning could be stumbling block

Dublin bomb find sparks global alert

Rocking for a Yes vote

Influential unionist campaigns for No vote

Clinton backs Yes vote

Molyneaux says no

Robin Oakley's Westminster Week

760lb bomb defused near RUC station

Vision of hope