The Guardian editoralises boldly:
The immediate villains of the piece are anti-agreement campaigners inside the Ulster Unionists, led by two MPs, Jeffrey Donaldson and David Burnside. They hold out the unacceptable and un realistic prospect of devolution without Sinn Fein. Unionists should recognise that by rejecting Mr Trimble, they would also be rejecting Northern Ireland’s opportunity to run its own affairs.
By contrast, Mr Trimble’s record is commendable. He took the bold step of swinging mainstream unionist opinion behind the peace process and has sustained the Good Friday agreement in practice. Still, he has made his troubles worse. His support for power-sharing has often been grudging and relations with successive Northern Ireland secretaries cool at best. This has not convinced uncertain voters in the unionist community that peace does not mean peace on the IRA’s terms.