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DUP 'will not walk away from Assembly'.

Summary: Peter Robinson: Collapsing power-sharing and returning to direct rule from London would consign unionists to second class citizenship.

Collapsing power-sharing and returning to direct rule from London would consign unionists to second class citizenship, the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has said.

Peter Robinson said alleged Sinn Fein threats to the devolved institutions were destabilising and promised he would not walk away from the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The power-sharing partners have been negotiating the transfer of policing and justice powers from London to Belfast, once the DUP is satisfied community confidence exists.

The East Belfast MP said the vision of hardline unionist Jim Allister, of politics free from Sinn Fein, would be a step backwards.

"It was we in the DUP who secured devolution on terms acceptable to unionists and who finally scattered those birds of passage, the Direct Rule ministers, for so long the public face of a colonial system of government that consigned us all to the status of second-class citizens," he said.

Mr Allister has vowed to oppose power-sharing with Sinn Fein whom he views as terrorists. The DUP leader also faces a threat from a combined Ulster Unionist and Conservative Party electoral ticket advocating closer ties with London.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 25, 2009
Words:229
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