The Northern Ireland (Ulster) Prime Minister Major Chichester-Clark, successfully warded off attacks on his leadership from inside his own constituency, yesterday (Monday August 10).
The Northern Ireland (Ulster) Prime Minister Major Chichester-Clark, successfully warded off attacks on his leadership from inside his own constituency, yesterday (Monday August 10). After a meeting lasting almost five hours in Maghera, County Londonderry, a vote of no confidence in the Premier was defeated by 97 votes to 87.
Although the Ulster Premier avoided a damaging blow to his prestige, the number of votes cast against him in his own political base is an indication of the strength of the right-wing opposition to the Ulster Government.
As he left the stormy meeting -- which was private -- Major Chichester-Clark run into tougher opposition. A jeering crowd threw pennies and apples at him and police had to force a way through to enable him to reach his waiting car.
As the Prime Minister crouched on the back seat of the car, the crowd thumped and kicked it before it was driven off.
The British Home Secretary, Mr. Reginald Maudling indicated last night (August 10) that a hardline Protestant take-over of the Northern Ireland Government could lead to direct rule of the Province from Westminster.
In his statement, Mr. Maudling praised the Northern Ireland Government, saying it had made real progress towards establishing a stable social order in the province. Then he added that any going back or departure from what has been done in the Stormont Government's reform programme "would endanger the present constitutional arrangement under which Northern Ireland governs its own affairs". Northern Ireland has had 50 years of autonomous Government.
The British Government's warning came soon after the leader of the Ulster right-wing, former Home Affairs Minister Mr. William Craig, said on a radio interview that he was "striving very hard" to get rid of the Chichester-Clark Government.
Mr. Craig's view is that prime responsibility for law and order should be taken out of the hands of the British Army and given back to the Royal Ulster Consabulary, which should be rearmed and supported by reconstituted "B Specials".
The Northern Ireland Cabinet reaffirmed their support for Major Chichester-Clark as Prime Minister at a meeting this morning.