Questioning David Trimble’s right to exclude a large majority of the electorate from current negotiations, Eileen Bell, Alliance Deputy Leader, said:
“When one thinks about it, Trimble wants to restrict what he sees as the only meaningful talks to the two governments (neither of which has any mandate from the people here ), Sinn Fein and his own party. Between them they received less than 39% of the total vote in the last Assembly election so exactly whom are they speaking for?
“The situation is even worse than the percentages represent. The UUP received 21.28% of the vote, but has since expelled one assembly member and suspended another!
“The talks this week at Stormont would represent over 69% of the electorate if the UUP were to join the other pro-agreement parties who are already attending! Surely, on that basis alone, the UUP are under an obligation to attend if, as they claim, they really want the agreement to work!
“They are also an obligation, I would suggest, to discuss other very important issues, such as Equality, Victims and Human Rights, even though they don’t think they really matter!
“I would remind Mr. Trimble that he was only First Minister because of the temporary support of myself and two other members of my party, yet we don’t warrant a place at the big table!”