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DUP leader Ian Paisley talks to Stephen Grimason
The DUP wants to take the UUP mantle and become the largest unionist party in Northern Ireland
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BBC NI political correspondent, Mark Simpson
The DUP are hoping to build on the electoral success in South Antrim
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Saturday, 18 November, 2000, 18:24 GMT
DUP urges 'pan-unionist' front
William McCrea: DUP MP
William McRea's victory: Confidence booster for DUP
Unionists have been urged to unite in a "pan-unionist" front which would defeat the "treachery" of the Good Friday Agreement.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley said unionists would have to unite on 10 basic principles which included barring representatives of groups holding illegal weapons from government.

Speaking at his party's annual conference in Enniskillen, Dr Paisley said unionists should also agree there should be no change to the Royal Ulster Constabulary or no involvement of the Irish Government in Northern Ireland bodies.

"The sooner a pan-unionist front is forged, the better for everyone in this province.

"The foundations upon which Ulster must build must be rock solid, not the sinking sands of the Belfast treachery Agreement. The fact of the matter is that the Belfast Agreement advocates are set to destroy democracy.

"The coming election will give us a democratic platform to take on the enemies."

He called on unionists to prepare for the forthcoming general election as it would give the party a democratic platform to take on its enemies.

Ian Paisley: 'Unionists must unite to defeat treacherous agreement'
"That election will be our destiny-deciding hour, " he said.

The DUP leader also called on David Trimble to step down from the leadership of the Ulster Unionist Party.

"Before the words of the unionist allegiance are scarcely uttered, the Ulster Unionists are wheeling and dealing with the murderous pact of IRA gangsters in Stormont," he said.

"David Trimble, in God's name go before you bring any more sacrifice, sorrow and shame to the people of this province."

"There is one thing the people of this province are not going to give you - the right to force us under the jackboot of the Dublin rule of corruption and fascism."

Earlier, the DUP deputy leader, Peter Robinson, told delegates that the party was on an electoral footing in anticipation of success at the general election.

He said the party was expecting to increase its representation at Westminster from three to eight seats.

The Upper Bann seat of First Minister David Trimble and the Strangford constituency of UUP deputy leader John Taylor are being targeted by the party, he said.

The party's confidence has been boosted following the by-election victory of the Reverend William McCrea in South Antrim in September.

Mr McCrea overturned a 16,000 UUP majority to claim the seat left vacant by the death of sitting MP Clifford Forsythe.

The result was seen by many commentators as a serious setback for the Northern Ireland peace process.

The former Mid Ulster MP took what had traditionally been the second safest Ulster Unionist seat.

Our goal is to go back to Westminster with the largest DUP parliamentary team in history

Peter Robinson
Other constituencies being targeted include North Belfast, East Londonderry and East Antrim, all seats which are held by Ulster Unionists.

"The Ulster Unionist Party promised it had saved the RUC and secured the Union," he said.

"We will pick up the standard they have deserted and carry it forward. The next general election will change the face of unionism.

"I am talking about a revolution within unionism.

"Our goal is to go back to Westminster with the largest DUP parliamentary team in history.

"The mantle of leadership of the unionist community has passed to this party."

Our greatest opportunity lies before us."

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See also:

22 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Poll defeat 'disaster' for UUP
22 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Blow to NI peace deal
22 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
The gospel-singing MP
29 Apr 00 | Northern Ireland
MP's death adds to pressure on Trimble
15 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Peace process 'at risk' over policing
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