ANOTHER DUP sceptic of devolving policing and justice swiftly has broken his silence to support his party's deal with Sinn Fein.
South Antrim MP William McCrea claimed that there had been "significant"
changes to the policing and justice deal between last Monday, when
14 DUP Assembly members rejected it, and Thursday, when the party's MLAs
unanimously accepted it.
The Rev McCrea said that TUV leader Jim Allister was wrong to claim
that there had been no changes to the deal between the two key meetings of the DUP Assembly group.
"It seems that anything that the DUP seek to achieve for unionism has to
automatically be condemned by the TUV," he said.
"I can assure the people of Northern Ireland that there were significant
changes and all of these were in the interest of unionism.
"At the commencement of these negotiations Sinn Fein was not interested
in dealing with the parading issue and only for the DUP the issue
would have been buried by our Westminster Government.
"The DUP forced Sinn Fein not only to discuss the issue of parading but
has set down a timetable of delivery whereby parading is now recognised as a fundamental part of an overall deal.
"Should at any time Sinn Fein renege on the implementation of such a strategy we make no apology for effectively bringing an end to the
devolution of policing and justice powers."
Earlier this week two other DUP figures who opposed the agreement last
Monday, MP Gregory Campbell and chief whip in the Assembly Lord
Morrow, came out in support of the deal.