“Sir Reg made it clear that the UUP was not putting off the devolution of policing and justice and that their position had been misinterpreted.
Instead the UUP has raised the possibility of London continuing for a period to handle the financial side of policing and justice even if the actual powers were devolved to the north.
“If we had a trial period of five years – then the Stormont budget would not be at risk,” he said.”
The rest of the paper’s discussion with Sir Reg contains good news, tempered by more disappointing detail. Conservatives and Unionists aspire to selecting a more representative stable of candidates, including more Catholics and women – good news. The scope for achieving this aim might be limited in the upcoming general election – bad news. Lady Hermon will not stand as an Ulster Unionist in the next election, unless she accepts the Conservative pact – good news. The party leadership is still holding out some faint hope that she will stand under that banner – bad news! Exercise some discipline Sir Reg. Mitigate the damage!