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Week in politics…

Here’s some links from the week in politics:

– PRIME MINISTER David Cameron and Ulster Unionist Party leader Tom Elliott have agreed that the formal alliance between the two parties is over, saying that “it is not acceptable in its current form”. (The Irish Times)

– BBC journalist Stephen Walker at the Conservative conference on the UCUNF project: ‘Looking back, activists on both sides know mistakes were made and they now have to recapture lost ground. Never mind a week being a long time in politics – for some, the last year must seem like an eternity.’ (BBC Online)

– First Minister Peter Robinson has called for the number of MLAs and government departments to be reduced after the Assembly Election. (BBC Online)

– Sinn Féin has accused Peter Robinson of using the issue of red tape at Stormont as a smoke screen, after the DUP leader called for a reduction in the number of MLAs and Executive departments to save money. (UTV Live)

– DUP Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds MP has welcomed the proposals put forward by First Minister, Peter Robinson concerning the reduction in the size of government in Northern Ireland. (dup.org.uk)

– Finance Minister Sammy Wilson is to stay on in the post as the Executive awaits swingeing public spending cuts. (The Belfast Telegraph)

– Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott has said the resignation of party member and former rugby international Trevor Ringland was unnecessary. (UTV Live)

– A second high-profile member has quit the UUP in as many days, less than a fortnight after the election of new leader Tom Elliott. (UTV Live)

Though Elliott is a decent and principled man, it’s hard to see how he can arrest his party’s decline any more than the equally decent Margaret Ritchie can transform the SDLP into a vibrant fighting force, says Ruth Dudley Edward. (The News Letter)

– Tom Elliott may not be a step backwards for unionism but there is certainly nothing to suggest he is a step forwards. For now, Elliott appears little more than a step to the side, and that is not what the UUP needs at the present time. (Yourfriendinthenorth.org)

– THE DUP is being disingenuous by calling for “unionist unity” while attacking rival unionists, TUV leader Jim Allister has said. (The News Letter)

– ULSTER Unionist MLA Ken Robinson is to step down from the Assembly. The East Antrim representative told his constituency Association on Friday he would not put his name forward for next year’s election. (Newtownabbey Times)

– Ulster Unionist Party members Sandra Overend, Women’s Development Officer, cllr Carol Black and cllr Jo-Anne Dobson have expressed their disappointment at “determined efforts” to ignore their core roles within the UUP. (UUP.org)

– If the UUP, SDLP and Alliance Party joined forces they could form a dominant party of the centre, says academic Michael Kerr (The News Letter)

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