Bigots & ballot boxes

David Trimble's Unionist Party likes to pretend that it is not 'sectarian', but thy have difficulty keeping up the pretence for more than a few minutes at a time. A "first class" UUP contender for the North Antrim constituency candidacy has no chance of being selected because she is Catholic, a party source claimed yesterday. The source told the Irish News that party officers had the highest respect for Patricia Campbell, but felt unionists would be unhappy to vote for her in the general election because of her religion.

Ms Campbell, who heads the party's information office in London, dropped a religious and sex discrimination case against the UUP last year. She is one of four people vying for the nomination to contest the seat held by DUP leader Ian Paisley.

He said "Patricia has a lot of ability and there is no doubt that she is very knowledgeable about politics. We have got to get the candidate who will maximise the vote for the UUP, it is nothing against her or her religion. But many people would not be happy to vote for a Catholic."

And cops

A police authority member took part in an illegal loyalist blockade in support of the Drumcree stand-off. Trevor Wilson, an Ulster Unionist councillor and Police Authority member, was present at a roadblock at Cookstown during the week before July 12.

In response to House of Commons question, Security Minister Sir John Wheeler said in a three-sentence reply that the issue was a matter for the Police Authority and that it had accepted Mr Wilson's account of the events and now regarded the matter closed.

In a statement, police authority chairman Pat Armstrong said it had accepted Mr Wilson's account of events "and agreed that no further action was necessary". Mr Wilson has been a member of the authority for two years and receives an annual 'emolument' of £4,495.