David Ford stated: “If the PUP had not disengaged with the IICD in the first place, maybe we would already have witnessed the UVF’s standing down. This move to reengage with the IICD must be followed up with swift UVF decommissioning and disbandment to show that loyalists are going to be committed to the peace process.
“After the UVF’s threats to go on the offensive if joint authority is introduced, their representatives are now sending out very mixed messages.
“I am very sceptical about this move because the PUP must show that they are committed to peace, before anyone outside of the Ulster Unionist Party will take them seriously.
“The spotlight must remain on the Ulster Unionists deal with the PUP, because if the UVF do not stand down swiftly, it will be clearly shown that the Ulster Unionists have no influence on them and the deal was all about making cheap political gains. To absorb the representatives of armed and active paramilitaries into a political party, like the UUP have is totally unacceptable.
“Decent people continue to be disgusted by the grubby UUP – PUP link and the Ulster Unionists continued inaction on this matter.”