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The Secret IRA Meetings: Unionist explains decision to leak paper

WILLIAM McCREA, the Democratic Ulster Unionist MP, said he decided to leak the document that plunged the Government and the talks process into crisis, after John Major 'looked us in the eye' and denied talks were taking place, writes Colin Brown.

Mr McCrea had the document, disclosing the contacts with the IRA, when he attended the meeting at Number 10 last Wednesday with Ian Paisley, the DUP leader.

Mr McCrea, MP for Mid-Ulster, said on BBC Radio: 'I was hoping that the Prime Minister would clearly state to us and frankly tell us this was going on. However, he did not say that to us at all. It was in the light of that and our meeting, of looking us in the eye, and bluntly denying what was known to be true, that I felt it's time the people knew exactly what was going on.'

He had obtained the document from an undisclosed contact after trying to verify whether the contacts with the IRA had been approved at the highest level in the Government. He said a 'very serious witch-hunt' was being carried out to identify his source.