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Friday, 23 March, 2001, 14:20 GMT
Court defeat for candidate
Peter Weir
Peter Weir took his party to court but lost
A wrangle within the Ulster Unionist Party over who should fight one of the general election seats has caused deep embarrassment for David Trimble.

One of his Assembly members Peter Weir has consistently voted against the party line at Stormont.

This led to an internal disciplinary hearing which suspended him from the party in February.

But Mr Weir, who is a fierce opponent of the Good Friday Agreement, was selected to fight the North Down last year.

UUP allegations about Peter Weir
Voted with DUP
Ignored three-line whip
Refused to retake the whip
Failed to support party policy

He unsuccessfully took his party to court over their efforts to de-select him.

The High Court in Belfast decided on 6 April for the Ulster Unionist Party.

Ongoing battle

Afterwards Mr Weir appeared unwilling to concede defeat.

He said: ''While I am naturally saddened by today's ruling, it is simply a setback in my campaign to become the Ulster Unionist MP for North Down.

"I was selected democratically by the members of the North Down Ulster Unionist Association and I remain the only legitimate candidate for the constituency"

The Weir controversy is part of the ongoing battle within the Ulster Unionist party between those who support the Agreement and those who do not.

A number of Ulster Unionist MPs are against sitting in Northern Ireland's government with Sinn Fein until the IRA hands over its weapons.

They are hoping to gain support for anti-Agreement Ulster Unionists during this election campaign.

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Related stories:

22 Mar 01 |  Northern Ireland
Weir move over constituency meeting
31 Mar 00 |  Northern Ireland
Anti-agreement unionist runs for MP
23 Jun 00 |  Northern Ireland
'No' man put out of UUP meeting
24 Feb 01 |  Northern Ireland
Weir supporters to fight suspension

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