Mark Durkan speaking on the steps of Downing Street was at pains to make it clear the process was still alive; “…if there is suspension we want to make it very clear that the institutions of the agreement will have been injured but they have not been crippled.”
Meanwhile David Trimble was clearly pushing for an expulsion of Sinn Fein Ministers at the Tory conference in Bournemouth:
“Expelling Sinn Fein was the only honourable option and failing to take it risked throwing away a ‘historic opportunity’. Mr Blair must not fall into the trap of ‘wishful thinking’ by suspending the assembly in the hope the situation could be fundamentally altered. And calling elections would play into Sinn Fein’s hands and allow them to ‘gobble up’ the SDLP.”
David McKittrick points out that 77 years old, Ian Paisley Senior may yet achieve what he has striven for, for all of his political career; to be leader of the dominant Unionist party in Northern Ireland.