Mayhew denies return to Stormont

 

SIR Patrick Mahyew has insisted that the proposed new forum in the North would not be a return to a Stormont style administration and would not block a political settlement.

"Far from being an obstacle, it is a way round an obstacle," he told the West of Scotland Conservative Association in Glasgow at the weekend.

He said an election would give voters the opportunity to endorse the claims of the political parties to represent them in talks. He reiterated all party talks would not take place without an election or prior decommissioning by the paramilitaries.

Sir Patrick said the Government had played an important part in the peace process and would continue to do so. "We live too close to one another, we have experienced too much together, we are far too closely related to one another for either of us not to see the sense in co operation," he said.

Meanwhile the SDLP deputy leader, Mr Seamus Mallon MP, accused the British Prime Minister of "breaking faith with the entire nationalist community". He said that Mr Major had done the dirty" on the Government and had dismissed the Mitchell report in order to stay in power.

The special relationship between the British and Irish governments, forged through the Anglo Irish Agreement and the Downing Street Declaration, had been "turned on its head unilaterally and without any reference."

The Ulster Democratic Party, the political wing of the UDA, said it hopes "punishment beatings" by the paramilitary group will finish by the end of this year.

A UDP spokesman, Mr John White, said there had already been a "dramatic reduction" in the number of attacks. "The way things are going, I would be hopeful of seeing an end to the beatings before the end of the year," he added.