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ULSTER IN CRISIS AS MP QUITS; Unionist rebel joins hardliners.

Byline: By TED OLIVER

savedoubleUUP last month after divisions with leader David Trimble, made no apologies for his defection.

He said: ``I have suffered vindictiveness and naked hatred from members of the UUP which I had never experienced before.

``It was clear Mr Trimbleand his colleagues had orchestrated a move to have me expelled because of the stance I took during the election campaign.''

In November's assembly poll, he topped the list in his Lagan Valley constituency standing as an Ulster Unionist but with his own anti-Agreement manifesto.

It was a final act of defiance to the UUP leadership, which began when he walked out of final negotiations for the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998.

Donaldson was yesterday joined by newly elected assembly members Arlene Foster and Norah Beare.

UUP spokesman Dermot Nesbitt welcomed the defections, saying the party would now be able to ``unite''.

Alex Maskey, of Sinn Fein, said: ``This changes nothing.''A REBEL unionist MP yesterday put the final nail in the coffin of the Good Friday Agreement.

Jeffrey Donaldson's defection to the Democratic Unionist Party along with two former Ulster Unionist members gives the Rev Ian Paisley's hardline party 33 seats in the Northern Ireland assembly.

Under complex voting arrangements designed originally to ensure crosscommunity government, the defections mean there is no way that pro-Agreement unionists could win a vote to have Sinn Fein back into the executive.

Donaldson, who quit the

CAPTION(S):

DONALDSON: Yesterday
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 6, 2004
Words:241
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