UUP raid latest

UUP assembly member Michael Copeland has complained to the Policing Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan about the raid on his offices, the BBC reports.

It is understood he has made repeated attempts to meet the officers involved, but they have refused to see him.
Party leader David Trimble said he did not believe Mr Copeland, a local government candidate, had been engaged in any corrupt activity.
The Ulster Unionist Party postponed the launch of its election manifesto due to the searches. Strategists felt the party’s policies could be "overshadowed" by the money laundering investigation. The party leadership opted to move the launch to Wednesday – a 48-hour delay.

While backing Mr Copeland, Mr Trimble has moved to downplay concerns about a political motive behind the raids, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

Mr Trimble said yesterday that he was "obviously concerned about the timing" of the raid in the middle of an election campaign, but said police could not have put aside any lines of inquiry until after the election.

A party source said he instructed members to "cut back the paranoia and stick as close as you can to the facts".

The reason for Mr Trimble’s reticence were spelt out bluntly in a press release from Sammy Wilson of the rival DUP.

“Over recent days, Ulster Unionists, publicly and privately, have been accusing their opponents of election dirty tricks.  Indeed, behind the scenes, there are Ulster Unionists who have been accusing the DUP of engineering the police raids at their offices on Friday.

Such accusations can only mean that the Ulster Unionist Party believe one of two things. Firstly, they either believe that the Police do not have the integrity to follow up on leads in a major investigation or that they don’t believe that the Police are professional enough to be able to determine where evidence will take them. 

The only other possible explanation is that the UUP believe that the Police are in cahoots with the DUP and therefore that the Police are not independent and are engaged in a politically motivated campaign against the UUP.   

Such a suggestion would mean that the UUP also believes that the Police were involved in a politically motivated campaign when they moved against members of Sinn Fein over the Stormont spy ring and other illegal activity.  [my italics]

The UUP did not appear to question the motivation or integrity of the Police during other operations, so why are they now taken to peddling lies and smear about others?

I have spoken to the Deputy Chief Constable this morning who has confirmed to me that this action was not the result of a complaint from the DUP or any other party."

Personally, I think Mr Wilson’s logic is compelling, although I don’t share his conclusions. As for the Ulster Unionists, it seems clear they will swallow any concerns about dirty tricks rather than be seen to side with Sinn Fein against the PSNI.






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