LETTER:Northern Ireland's changing electoral map

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The Independent Online
From Mr David Trimble, MP

Sir: Your editorial (29 August) contains serious inaccuracies, apart from the ridiculous claim that we were unsure of the pronunciation of Jim Molyneaux's name.

It is not correct to say that Dublin has accepted the Union. Dublin seeks what it calls a "balanced constitution settlement" which is reflected in the Joint Framework document. If it were to obtain its aims, then Northern Ireland would cease to be a part of the United Kingdom in the full sense, but will acquire a distinct and unique status in international law positioned between London and Dublin, even if closer to the former for the moment. Indeed, when I asked John Major in the House of Commons, after the publication of the framework, if the principle of consent extended to giving the people of Northern Ireland the option of being a genuine part of the United Kingdom, he dismissed the query.

It is also wrong to suggest that our party seeks to regain "its former political dominance in Northern Ireland". The electoral map has changed and it is unlikely that we will regularly obtain, as we used to, over 50 per cent of the vote. Our proposals to the inter-party talks were based on a thorough application of the principle of proportionality in any new assembly for all its operations. We have since been told that proportionality is not enough; that nationalists require more than the share their vote would entitle them to.

Sincerely,

David Trimble

MP for Upper Bann

(Ulster Unionist)

Ulster Unionist Council

Belfast

29 August

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