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DUP man in push for direct rule shift

(Roddy McGregor, Irish News)

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell is to lobby for support at Westminster for the government to concentrate on accountable direct rule in the absence of IRA disbandment.

The DUP man has tabled an early day motion requesting that parliament recognise the significance of the DUP election results.

After returning nine MPs, Mr Campbell's motion asks that the government acknowledge the DUP success as "the clearest possible expression" of the unionist community.

The motion goes on to say "in the absence of the Provisional IRA winding up its organisation, [the House of Commons] demands that the direct rule system of government be made much more open, accountable and responsive to the needs of the people in the province".

Mr Campbell said: "Unionists have endorsed the DUP because they want their representatives to stand up to Sinn Féin and not to be the pushovers of the past.

"The prime minister and the secretary of state must move to make direct rule more accountable and acceptable so that the democratic deficit can be reduced."

But SDLP leader Mark Durkan said his party's aim was to end direct rule and restore local accountable democratic institutions.

"The notion of 'new improved direct rule' might serve the purposes of the new DUP parliamentary party," he said.

"But it is not the answer for our own economic growth prospects, improving public services or building community here.

"I would say to Gregory that 'accountable direct rule' would be a contradiction in terms, just like 'democratic unionist party'," he added.

A Sinn Féin spokesman rejected Mr Campbell's motion as a DUP attempt to avoid power sharing.

"The question needs to be asked who is afraid of peace. It sounds as if they [the DUP] don't want the peace process to work and they are continually putting more obstacles in the way," he said.

"They would be better using their position to try to bring the communities together.

"People here desire to have local and accountable representation. People here spoke at the election about who they want to represent them and it is not up to Gregory Campbell or anybody else to put blockages on their choices."

May 23, 2005

This article appeared first in the May 21, 2005 edition of the Irish News.

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