Ulster MPs likely to side with Labour

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The Independent Online
AT LEAST seven of the 17 Northern Ireland MPs are expected to vote against the Government in the pit closure debate, but no decision has been made yet on the votes of eight Ulster Unionists, writes David McKittrick.

The party, which is led by James Molyneaux, is to meet early this week to decide on its line. One of its MPs, John Taylor, said yesterday: 'It's possible I would prefer to abstain. I certainly will not be voting for the Government, and I don't think any of my colleagues will be either.' Another MP said: 'We could be into the area of tactical voting here.'

The Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist party, which has three MPs, is to support the Labour motion. The DUP MP for Mid-Ulster, the Rev William McCrea, said yesterday: 'The Government has made a very serious miscalculation. It's a . . . senseless slaughter of jobs.'

The nationalist Social Democratic and Labour party is also to vote with Labour, though one of its four MPs will be in America with one of the Ulster Unionists. Sir James Kilfedder, of the Popular Unionist party is also expected to oppose the Government.