Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Friday, 26 February 2010

Paisley - coldness harms progress

Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness were dubbed the Chuckle Brothers

Ian Paisley believes the lack of warmth in Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness's relationship may be hampering progress in the Executive.

The ex-DUP leader formed an unlikely friendship with Mr McGuinness, his former political enemy in Sinn Fein.

He told the News Letter the Executive was not in a position to "make so much progress as we made because we had that relationship, that coming and going".

Mr Paisley said he and Mr McGuinness were never "battling one another".

The two men got along so well they were dubbed the Chuckle Brothers.

"We got on exceedingly well and when we had a difficulty, we didn't sit and chew it over," he told the paper.

"We had an adjournment and both of us talked first on our own together to see was there any way forward and then brought in our helpers and more or less carried everybody with us."

Mr Robinson succeeded Mr Paisley as DUP leader and first minister in 2008, and his relationship with his Sinn Fein counterpart has been more frosty.

It was joked that the Chuckle Brothers had been replaced by the Brothers Grimm.

The Hillsborough Agreement to devolve policing and justice powers to Stormont was reached earlier this month following weeks of protracted negotiations.

Mr Robinson had described a "clever device" to safeguard against non-delivery of the deal.

In his News Letter column two weeks ago, Mr Paisley warned such talk could undermine the chance of the Hillsborough deal succeeding.

"All this talk of clever tricks and cunning plans is to undermine the chance of its success," he said.

"If a transaction has been done, then it should not be the business of either side to act with mischievous intent, nor to attempt to paint themselves as the ingenious brain that knows more than everyone else."

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