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Last Updated: Monday, 5 February 2007, 13:39 GMT
Resign letter for DUP candidates
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DUP members have been asked to sign a letter of resignation
DUP assembly election candidates have received a contract asking them to sign a resignation letter, which could be triggered if they breach party policy.

The contract was described as "draconian" by one member.

The member told the BBC DUP assembly members could find themselves out of a job without even being consulted.

A DUP spokesman said he was not aware of any contract at this stage, but said it was normal practice for candidates to sign one.

A two-page contract with a letter of resignation attached has been received by a number of candidates standing in the election.

BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent Martina Purdy said one of the clauses imposed a 20,000 fine on members as a form of discipline.

"Another clause, which has also caused upset, asks candidates to sign a letter of resignation which could be invoked by the party leader Ian Paisley if the member is in serious breach of his or her obligations under the contract," she said.

"These obligations include regularly attending meetings and obeying party policy.

"Under the contract, the party leader having consulted a majority of party officers could submit the letter to the speaker's office.

"Another source, upset by the contract, said it was an attempt to stifle dissension before election day.

"Party officers are currently meeting, but it is not clear if the contract forms part of the discussion."

A DUP spokesman said it was normal practice to draw up a contract with candidates but there had been no discussion to finalise the contract at this stage.


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