Alliance meet Blair to discuss Assembly voting strategies

The leaders of the Northern Ireland Alliance Party have meet with Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street to discuss voting procedures in the Assembly and the amnesty for terrorists in Northern Ireland.

Mr Ford, Alliance deputy leader Eileen Bell and General Secretary Stephen Farry met Mr Blair on Wednesday evening to discuss, primarily voting strategies used in key votes at Stormont and the issue of sectarian designations.

During a crucial vote in November, Mark Durkan and David Trimble were elected, after a temporary stalemate, to head Northern Ireland's devolved government with the backing of the Alliance party. Three members redesignated themselves for centre to unionist in order to ensure cross community support.

The Alliance Party met Mr Blair to discuss the sectarian voting system which the Government said it would deal with in a full Comprehensive Review of the Agreement, due to begin in May this year.

The Alliance said before the meeting they would be highlighting their difficulties with the "Government's proposals for an amnesty for terrorists 'on the run', particularly when the disgusting practice of paramilitaries forcibly exiling people from Northern Ireland continues."

Meanwhile, a SDLP delegation met with Mr Blair on Tuesday. Speaking afterwards, SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the meeting had been frank with the primary focus on the Criminal Justice Review legislation. (AMcE)

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