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Saturday, October 2, 1999 Published at 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK

UK: Northern Ireland

Trimble under attack from predecessor

David Trimble will face criticism over divided unionism

The former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party has used the Ulster Young Unionist Conference to issue an attack on the pro-Agreement policies of his successor.

Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, will face young unionist critics, at their annual conference in Bangor, County Down, later on Saturday.

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The young unionist group have put forward a hardline agenda which includes a motion demanding that the UUP should break off contact with Sinn Fein and that republicans should be excluded from any devolved government executive.

Opening the one-day conference former UUP leader Lord Molyneaux said the Good Friday Agreement is a word experiment that cannot work.

He said: "In the enforced Good Friday Agreement, obscure phrases came to mean what the two governments chose them to mean. No intelligent person can regard it as durable or workable."

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He warned unionists not to be deceived by forms of words like "sequencing" and "narrowing the gap".

"Face the facts: This time they are going for the jugular," he said.

He added unionists must be realistic, warning that the Union and Unionists may not have a future.

'Welsh model'

He said time was running out and called for a Northern Ireland administration based on a Welsh model of majority rule to be set up.

[ image: Jim Molyneaux: Agreement is death knell for unionism]
Jim Molyneaux: Agreement is death knell for unionism
Lord Molyneax added that his party's assembly team could not be expected to pledge support for the Union while being bound by law to co-operate with parties pledged to destroy the Union.

But he after told reporters that his comments did not amount to an attack on David Trimble.

Chairman of the Young Unionists, Peter King, is also set to blame the Good Friday Agreement for divisions within Unionism, which has he says have aided the continued success of pan-Nationalism.

But speaking on the BBC's Inside Politics programme he said that Mr Trimble would be received "respectfully".

Mr King said that as long as Mr Trimble holds to party policy on excluding Sinn Fein from an executive without prior decommissioning his position as party leader was safe.

The debate on the motion to exclude republicans from any Assembly executive will precede Mr Trimble's address.

Mr Trimble, whose party refuses to form a power-sharing government with Sinn Fein unless the IRA agrees to give up its weapons, is due to resume efforts to reach a deal with republicans on Monday.

'No commitments'

He dismissed 70 minutes of talks with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams at Stormont on Friday as "going round in circles", saying he could not get republicans to give the commitment he needs to move forward.

Many Young Unionists, including chairman Peter King, are members of the anti-Agreement Union First group, which is urging David Trimble to stick to his ''no guns, no government'' commitment.

The conference will also debate a motion demanding the rejection of the Patten report on the future of policing in Northern Ireland, after which Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Ronnie Flanagan, who has broadly welcomed the report will speak.

The young unionists may opt to debate a reserve motion calling for Northern Ireland Secretary, Mo Mowlam to be sacked.

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