Northern Ireland news

Ulster Unionist grandee Lord Empey says 'only a madman' would collapse Stormont in midst of pandemic

Former Ulster Unionist leader Lord Reg Empey. Picture by Pacemaker

ULSTER Unionist grandee Lord Empey has taken swipe at former party colleague Sir Jeffrey Donaldson saying "only a madman" would collapse Stormont in the midst of a pandemic.

The former UUP leader's remarks came as 100 days passed since the DUP leader first issued his threat to walk away from the devolved institutions.

Sir Jeffrey, who left the UUP in 2004, indicated in September that if his ultimatum to the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol was not met by November 1, then the DUP would take "resolute action" and quit power-sharing.

Lord Empey said there were no radical changes to the protocol but that the British government had "got Sir Jeffrey’s measure and have run the clock down so that his foolish threats to bring down the Institutions can have little effect".

He said the assembly mandate was coming to an end "in a few weeks".

“Sir Jeffrey’s foolish and empty threats have not only embarrassed him and his party, they have once again embarrassed and demoralised unionism in general," Lord Empey said.

 

“What is needed is a negotiation to amend the existing treaty with the EU to re-instate the proper constitutional mechanisms of the United Kingdom so that we will no longer be treated like an EU protectorate. We remain rule takers with no democratic input."

 

The Ulster Unionist peer said "only a madman would bring down Stormont" in the north's centenary year, in the middle of a worsening pandemic.

He said Sir Jeffrey and his DUP colleagues "must accept and acknowledge their role in all of this mess".

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