Woodward praises Peter Robinson, the DUP leader, as a "strong leader" for the way in which he pressed ahead with devolving policing powers. Woodward says Robinson understood the dangers of political uncertainty.
As an ex-Conservative, Shaun may be trying to demean the Conservatives and the UUP link up with a very personal attack on David Cameron. Trying to keep his 'Red Flag' credentials methinks. But it could very well back fire as it shows a Labour Party in disarray over the election. Labour have aligned themselves with the DUP on this one with Woodward endorsing Peter Robinson.
I wonder who it will do the most damage to.
According to the Guardian Woodward basically accuses the Conservatives and Unionists of
"adopting a "reckless" approach to Northern Ireland, which threatens to destabilise the peace process by strengthening the hand of dissident republican terrorists".
Woodward is accusing the Conservatives and Unionists of threatening the Peace Process. Hmmmm. I wonder if the DUP agree with this assessment and if they will comment on it.
Iain Dale even comments on Shaun's ludicrous assertions.
I think this is the last desperate throw of the dice by Labour to once again undermine Northern Ireland. Lets not forget that Labour are 'neutral' on the Union whilst the Conservatives and Unionists are campaigning in Northern Ireland to get it back into the heart of the Union.
I have added the whole letter from David Trimble below.
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to see if the views expressed by Shaun Woodward, as our Secretary of State, in the Guardian on 2 May accurately reflect government policy.
The Secretary of State has already declared he is neutral on the Union. The Belfast Agreement is not neutral, it upholds the right of the people of Northern Ireland to be part of the United Kingdom. A Secretary of State for NI might be able to justify a general approach of neutrality as between the political parties in Northern Ireland. But by explicitly attacking of the Ulster Unionist election arrangements he is effectively asking unionists to vote for the DUP.
I therefore must ask you is it the policy of the Labour party to be neutral on the union and to encourage support for the DUP? Do you, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom value the union with Northern Ireland?
I also have to say that it is completely unacceptable to suggest as does the Secretary of State in the Guardian article that David Cameron and Reg Empey are somehow “strengthening the hand of dissident republican terrorists" and I would hope that you would restrain the Secretary of State from making such intemperate comments. Perhaps you would encourage him to show some concern that for the first time in 88 years the police are unavailable the protect voters in the environs of our polling stations during this election.
You may also want to consider the Secretary of State’s apparent lack of concern about the recent budget cuts in NI of £435 million, resulting in Health immediately losing £113 million. Is such an assault on frontline public services congruent with Labour party policy? And if not, should not the Secretary of State have a position on the matter?
The Rt. Hon the Lord Trimble
What do you think of it all?