UDP proposes creation of British Isles council


THE Ulster Democratic Party has proposed the establishment of a council of the British Isles to tackle issues relating to the "totality of relationships" on these islands.

The council would be composed of elected representatives from Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic, according to the UDP. It would not infringe on British or Irish sovereignty. It would replace the proposals in the Framework Document which focus on the NorthSouth relationship, the UDP leader, Mr Gary McMichael, said yesterday.

"We feel that our proposals, driven as they are by economics and, not nationalism, provide the basis for a form of co operation based purely on mutual advantage and transparency, he added.

The UDP proposals are contained in a document which will form one of the central planks of the party's platform at all party talks. "There is no consent for the creation of political structures between Northern Ireland and, the Irish Republic, which allow interference in the internal jurisdiction of this part of the UK," the UDP stated.

"We wish a friendly and co operative relationship with the Republic on the basis of mutual advantage and transparency. However, we see this within the confines of a wider relationship between other regions of the British Isles," it added.

The council would involve the creation of an executive with elected representatives from the various jurisdictions in Britain and Ireland. It would have a budget, a secretariat, a set of rules and procedures, and would operate on the basis of "unanimity" so that no one "region" could dominate.

"Such a body, while recognising national sovereignty and respecting it as a vital political force, would revitalise these islands, building new friendships, north, south, east and west. Rather than being a place apart Northern Ireland would fulfil a valuable role within, the process and the region, the UDP document stated.

The UDP added that "unionism must take a broader view" than it, had in the past. "We must recognise the changing needs of our people in Northern Ireland as a region on the periphery of the UK, and of the British Isles as a region in itself on the periphery of an evolving Europe," the document concluded.