Joint UKIP and TUV Statement by David McNarry and Jim Allister:
“It is with regret that both UKIP and TUV today announce their withdrawal from the unionist collective which came together in response to the “Let Them Home” campaign in respect of the Ligoniel lodges. However, the actions of the DUP and UUP have left us with no honourable option.
“Key to our involvement was the honouring of the letter and spirit of the 3rd July 2014 declaration by all the parties to the effect that there would be no unionist participation in inter-party talks/negotiations on the subject of parading so long as the Ligoniel impasse prevailed. Assurances on this matter have been forthcoming at various leaders meetings – the latest on 20 November – which have been held since the united response on the issue was agreed. We took these assurances in good faith.
“Indeed, for us, central to the credibility of any ‘graduated response’ was a resolute refusal to retreat on this principle.
“Yet, now, it is abundantly clear that this uniting principle has been broken, with both DUP and UUP engaging on parading in the current inter-party talks.
“There cannot be a united response on the issue of parading when some parties engage in discussions with Republicans on the issue while keeping fellow unionists in the dark about the fact that these discussions are taking place never mind the substance of them.
“There was huge leverage to be gained for the ‘Let Them Home’ campaign by refusing talks engagement on parading while justice was denied to the lodges. Instead, these parties, as they ready for a fresh deal with Sinn Fein, have chosen to betray their pledge for the sake of securing the failing government of which they are a part.
“We are not prepared to pretend that the much talked about ‘graduated response’, of which withdrawal from talks was the supposed starting point, is ever likely to materialise.
“Regrettably, therefore, as from today we are discontinuing involvement with the parties who welched on their commitment.”