Top loyalists believed Billy Wright was a British agent

PUP leader Billy Hutchinson

Senior loyalists including David Ervine and Billy Hutchinson believed their former colleague Billy Wright was a British agent.

In his book Aaron Edwards reveals that former PUP leader David Ervine suspected that Wright - who headed the UVF in Mid Ulster before he was expelled - was working for the British.

Although many observers believe Wright - and other senior UVF members - were agents, the personal views of loyalist leaders have rarely been made public.

According to the book suspicions grew around Wright’s anti-peace process stance as it continued to develop in the 1990s.

According to a senior UVF man who was interviewed for the book, known as ‘The Craftsman’, “Ervine was much more suspicious than the UVF itself about who was pulling Wright’s strings”.

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Former PUP leader Dawn Purvis also reveals Ervine’s concerns.

“David was always right about agents,” she said.

“He called it in relation to … (a prominent Mount Vernon loyalist) as early as 1996 and he was convinced that Wright was merely a tool, he believed, who did not want the loyalist ceasefires to hold.

“David was convinced that the British state wanted a ceasefire from the Provos, but not by loyalists.”

The book also reveals that current PUP leader Billy Hutchison, who is a former UVF prisoner, also had suspicions.

“On the two occasions I met Wright I challenged him on his activities,” he told the author.

“I asked him how he managed to get away from the café and return safely from the operation in Scotland whenever Lindsay Robb had been caught in a sting.

“Wright’s story simply didn’t add up.

“Wright was an agent.

“Everyone knew it,” he says.

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