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Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson
The Ulster Unionist Party faces electoral meltdown if it doesn't change its policy position
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Saturday, 30 September, 2000, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
UUP faces 'electoral melt-down'
Ulster Unionists are under pressure to pull out of the executive
Ulster Unionists are under pressure to pull out of the executive
A dissident Ulster Unionist MP has called for a special meeting of his party's ruling council in a bid to get them to pull out of the power-sharing executive in Northern Ireland.

Lagan Valley MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, who is fiercely opposed to the Good Friday Agreement, said it was time for party officers to call such a meeting to sanction a withdrawal from government with republicans.

He said ignoring confirmation of IRA involvement in a Florida gun running plot would lead to "electoral meltdown" and he was not prepared to follow such a course of action.

Speaking on Friday, he said: "Given the substantial evidence of IRA involvement in the gun running plot from Florida, our position in the executive is unsustainable.

"It is absolutely essential we review our policy. Speculation about a leadership challenge at this stage is just speculation.

"This meeting will be about policy, nothing else.The party needs to get its act together."

Jeffrey Donaldson
Jeffrey Donaldson: Call for party to quit Stormont

Earlier this week, Mr Donaldson said he believed there was a "crisis of confidence" within unionism and the party needed to revert to what he claimed was the unifying policy of "no guns, no government".

The party is holding a conference next Saturday, and could then fix a date for a meeting of the 860-strong Ulster Unionist Council, which endorses party policy.

Mr Trimble is under pressure to achieve progress on decommissioning and limit planned reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, after the party lost its second safest seat in the South Antrim by-election to the anti-Good Friday Agreement Democratic Unionist Party.

At a time when there are doubts over whether the IRA will allow its weapons hideouts to be examined by government-appointed inspectors for a second time, an Ulster Unionist review team has said it is unhappy with progress on paramilitary disarmament.

A report from a six-member UUP review group on Tuesday, said that "not only had republican and loyalist terrorists failed to decommission weapons they had not even indicated if, and when, decommissioning might begin".

At the last Ulster Unionist Council meeting in May, Mr Trimble got 53% backing to enter government to test a promise by the IRA to start a process towards disarmament.

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See also:

26 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Trimble faces challenge threat
26 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Tension surrounds ministerial meeting
27 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
SDLP urged 'to take risks'
26 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Arms move 'a substantial step'
26 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
IRA arms inspectors' report
26 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
IRA statement on inspections
16 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Unionists hopeful of arms move
06 May 00 | Northern Ireland
IRA arms offer
26 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Inspectors 'satisfied' over IRA arms
26 Jun 00 | Northern Ireland
Timeline: Road to arms inspections
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