News The Prime Minister's authority was challenged by his own backbenchers as they demanded a tougher line on deporting foreign criminals from Britain

More than 80 backbenchers had demanded a tougher line on deporting foreign criminals from Britain

Loyalists in Ulster clash

POLICE in riot gear were called to an Orange hall in Northern Ireland last night after rival Unionist leaders confronted each other at a rally.

RUC urged to speed up reforms

The Royal Ulster Constabulary was last night accused of dragging its heels over reform for the peace process.

Sinn Fein rejects talks plan

SINN FEIN dramatically raised the stakes in the Northern Ireland peace process yesterday by formally rejecting Tony Blair's blueprint for a constitutional settlement. Martin McGuinness, the party's chief negotiator, insisted that it would stay in the talks, but only to oppose the Government's initiative.

Politics: Anger greets Ulster march proposal

The Government wants to avoid a recurrence of highly disruptive annual loyalist parades, such as the Drumcree march. David McKittrick, Ireland Correspondent, outlines both the new legislation announced yesterday and the criticisms which greeted it.

Mowlam talks with Paisley

Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam had talks with DUP leader Ian Paisley last night as part of her efforts to maintain the momentum of the Stormont peace process.

Unionists set to reject terms for peace talks

Amid signs of divided opinions within the Protestant population, the three main Unionist parties are today expected to reject the terms for wide-ranging talks laid down by the British and Irish governments.

Loyalists welcome Blair assurances

Loyalists last night gave a "positive response" to Tony Blair at a meeting in Downing Street after he urged them to use their influence with Loyalist paramilitaries not to break their ceasefire in Northern Ireland.

Don't force marches through, says Ahern

The tension surrounding this weekend's highly charged Orange parade at Drumcree increased yesterday when the new Irish premier, Bertie Ahern, urged the Government not to force the march through.

Ahern in quest for vital party backing

Horse-trading between Ireland's incoming minority government and independent TDs (MPs) will begin today in the aftermath of the general election which left Bertie Ahern's Fianna Fail and their Progressive Democrat allies three seats short of a majority in the Dail.

Ulster TV's modest series may begin to change northerners' perception of the southern Irish

Something remarkable is happening on Ulster's television screens. UTV, the commercial station that serves the strife-torn province, has sent a camera crew and a Protestant clergyman south of the border to produce six half-hour documentaries about the Republic of Ireland.

March highlights loyalist divisions

The sharp divisions within Ulster loyalism were publicly encapsulated yesterday when the new marching season's first disputed parade passed off without serious incident in south Belfast.

Labour is ready to ditch Unionists

Tony Blair has decided to get tough with the Ulster Unionists by offering no concessions to them on Labour's Northern Ireland policy before tonight's crucial vote of censure.

Blair plans confidence vote to topple Major

Labour is planning a vote of no confidence in the Government if the Conservatives lose the Wirral South by-election - a threat that could force John Major to opt for an early election.

Loyalists' place at table in jeopardy

The Government yesterday issued a pointed public warning to loyalist groups that more violence would jeopardise the place at the conference table which is occupied by "fringe loyalist" parties.

IRA shoots police guard in hospital

An RUC officer was injured last night in an IRA attempt to kill police officers guarding a well-known loyalist politician who was visiting his seriously ill child at a west Belfast hospital. Gunmen fired four shots at policemen in a hospital corridor close to where children were being treated. One bullet hit an empty incubator.
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