Britain: Trimble unveils Orange plan

Click to follow
Proposals to loosen the historic links between the Ulster Unionist Party and the Orange Order were put to the party's annual conference by leader David Trimble yesterday.

Party leaders hope that such a move would make it more acceptable to Catholics who wish to back a party which supports Northern Ireland's place in the United Kingdom but feel they cannot because of the Orange association. The main change would be that the Order would no longer be able to appoint delegates to the party ruling Ulster Unionist Council. In future, all delegates would have to be nominated by party branches.

Mr Trimble assured the conference that the plan did not amount to "expelling the Orange delegates or cutting the link with the Orange Institution". When Mr Trimble was elected party leader last month, more than 120 of the 800 voting delegates were sent to the meeting by the Orange Order.

He said it would be next spring before the planned changes were put to the party and approved "if all goes well".