Anger flares in attacks by rival Unionists
Ulster poll: Trimble clashes with fellow contenders as fears grow of a splintered vote
Tuesday 28 May 1996
Voters go to the polls on Thursday to elect a 110-member forum, which will supply most of the negotiators for the inter-party talks due to open on 10 June.
The outbreak of verbal jousting appears to have its origin in worries within David Trimble's Ulster Unionist Party that its campaign is not going well. Reports are circulating that rival parties, principally the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and Robert McCartney's UK Unionists, are making a strong showing.
A poor performance for Mr Trimble would represent a serious blow to his credibility, in that he is regarded as the prime mover in pressing the Government to hold the election in the first place.
The various parties involved sought to portray rivals as being unsound on the issue of the union.
Mr Trimble's party yesterday called a news conference to warn voters against fracturing the Unionist vote, in the process launching a strong attack on Mr Paisley. John Taylor MP accused the DUP of "playing straight into the hands of Dublin", while Mr Trimble said Mr Paisley had formed an unholy alliance with John Hume's Social Democratic and Labour Party for the purpose of doing down the Ulster Unionists.
Mr Paisley, in a swift response, accused Mr Trimble of selling the pass by, he said, being prepared to put the 1920 Government of Ireland Act, which set up the state of Northern Ireland, on the negotiating table.
He said that Mr Trimble "dreaded" the DUP, adding: "He's not happy because he's losing out in this election."
Mr McCartney, of the smaller UK Unionists, said that Mr Trimble had turned down his suggestion of a united unionist front to fight the elections. Mr Trimble retorted: "Mr McCartney doesn't tell you that he broke off the discussion and rushed out of the door, pausing only to discharge an epithet in my direction."
With almost a dozen pro-union parties standing in the election, one Unionist nightmare scenario is that the vote would splinter in such a way that the SDLP could, for the first time ever, win most votes.
While not affecting any future negotiations, such an outcome would represent a major psychological setback for Unionism.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Striker's four-month ban for biting an opponent expires on Friday
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£120 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Luton: The Job:SECONDARY teachers need...
£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Behaviour Support WorkerThe JobTo...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is working in...
£60 - £65 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...