Newton Emerson: It’s time for DUP to bite bullet and sell draft agreement

Columnist Newton Emerson
Columnist Newton Emerson

Columnist Newton Emerson has described the leaked draft deal between Sinn Fein and the DUP as “a very reasonable proposal”.

“The reason it [the deal] fell apart over the weekend was that the groundwork wasn’t done by the DUP for it to be able to withstand a handful of rumours and complaints that circled around,” he told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster.

Overall Mr Emerson said, it was “an excellent deal for the DUP and for Northern Ireland in general”.

The main point to emerge from the draft documents is that Sinn Fein appears “genuinely committed to restoring Stormont” he added.

“And while I think that there are genuine concerns – genuine reasons to be concerned about an Irish Language Act – portraying objection to it as bigotry is very duplicitous. None of those concerns have appeared in this draft.

“It is a very, very reasonable proposal, and it is just time for the DUP leadership to bite the bullet and start selling it.”

Talks will clearly resume at some point, he said. The real problem facing the DUP now is “how can they ever again get a deal this good”.

But next time they must talk their supporters through it, he added.