The Ulster Unionist Party still rejects the legacy and Irish language plans, says Steve Aiken

Steve Aiken, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, and party colleagues on Saturday announce that they are entering the new executive. Photo: Michael Cooper/PA Wire
Steve Aiken, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, and party colleagues on Saturday announce that they are entering the new executive. Photo: Michael Cooper/PA Wire
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The Ulster Unionist Party said it still opposed proposals for tackling legacy and an Irish language act, despite deciding to enter the executive.

In a statement on Saturday explaining their decision to join the power sharing cabinet, Steve Aiken MLA, the UUP leader, said: “There are elements in this deal that are welcome and which we strongly argued for: pay parity for nurses, increased spending in health, the mental health strategy, children’s funeral fund, three funded cycles of IVF treatment, climate change legislation, and the increase in police numbers.”

He added: “However there are elements of this deal that we remain totally opposed to — in particular the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement legacy provisions and the Irish language act.”

Mr Aiken said: “We are very disappointed that our well thought out and reasoned ideas about making the executive more accountable, responsible and transparent have either been watered down or significantly diminished.”

But he said: “However it is very clear that the mood of the people is to get effective government back and the best way to hold Sinn Fein and the DUP to account is by the Ulster Unionist Party being in the Executive.

“Therefore today, the Ulster Unionist Party has decided to take its seat at the Executive table.”