Ulster peace in peril
Sir: There can be few who would disagree with David McKittrick's report on the vital question of the future of the peace process in Northern Ireland ("Trimble out to crush dissenters") and the leading article "The folly of breaking the cross-party accord" (22 June).
The two items are not unconnected. The first correctly identified that the Northern Ireland assembly "will need a strong majority in favour of the Good Friday agreement to fend off challenges from ... Unionism opposed to the accord". And the latter, equally correctly, identified the "tawdry spectacle" of the Conservative decision, last week, to vote against the legislation to enact the Good Friday Agreement.'
If, as I believe and hope will not be the case, extremists opposed to the peace process make significant and damaging headway in the Assembly elections next Thursday, the Conservative Party will have to bear a great deal of responsibility for the consequences which could follow - be it instability or, worse, a return to violence.
The timing of the Tories' decision, a week before polling, to end the hitherto necessary and agreed bipartisan approach to Northern Ireland must be seen for what it may end up being - an act of political terrorism. The opposition must have known, and yet for reasons of populist point- scoring they went ahead to give succour to those wishing to destroy the peace process.
STEPHEN HESFORD MP
(Wirral West, Lab)
House of Commons
The writer is a member of the Commons Northern Ireland Select Committee.Reuse content