Senior Northern Ireland Tory resigns council seat: Founder member bitter over deal struck with Ulster Unionists

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A FOUNDER member of the Northern Ireland Conservative Party yesterday fuelled the furore over the Government's arrangement with the Ulster Unionists when he resigned his local authority seat.

But Dr Laurence Kennedy, who helped establish the model North Down Conservative Association in 1988, had last night still not quit the party, in spite of his bitter letter of resignation to the authority's chief executive.

In his letter to North Down council, Dr Kennedy, who survived an assassination attempt by the Irish National Liberation Army in November 1991, said his election had signalled the people of Northern Ireland wished to be governed in the same way as the rest of the UK.

He added: 'It is a matter of great regret to me that the leadership of my party . . . have repeatedly made it abundantly clear that they have no wish to promote in Northern Ireland the type of politics which have the potential to bring about peace and stability.'

Conservative Central Office denied the accusations, pointing out that both John Major and Sir Patrick Mayhew, the Secretary of State, had on numerous occasions given their unequivocal backing to the local party.

Kevin McNamara, Labour's frontbench spokesman on Northern Ireland, yesterday attacked MPs who want the party to organise in the province, writes Anthony Bevins.

Mr McNamara and frontbench colleagues said in a pamphlet, Oranges or Lemons? Should Labour Organise in Northern Ireland?, that electoral 'integrationists' campaigning for the party to set up branches and fight elections in the province 'have employed the tried and tested methods of sects who have entered the party from time to time.'

Oranges or Lemons?; Kevin McNamara MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA; pounds 2.