DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley has said the leaders of "IRA/Sinn Féin" had lied in their responses to recent accusations of criminality and "maligned" their accusers.
“The people of Northern Ireland are sick of these insults,” he said.
“The time has come for this Government and this House [he was speaking today in the House of Commons] to set its own affairs in order and say there is no place in a democracy for armed terrorists and for their campaign of crime and their campaign against the decent citizens of Northern Ireland.”
Referring to claims by Michael McDowell that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness are members of the seven-strong “Army Council” that controls the IRA, Mr Paisley continued: “If that is so, this House should rid themselves completely of those who are in the IRA or any other terrorist organisation."
UUP leader David Trimble (Upper Bann) said he wanted more stringent sanctions against Sinn Féin than those announced today by Northern Secretary Paul Murphy.
“All that is saving Sinn Féin from office in an Assembly now is the (British) government’s decision to continue suspension,” he protested.
This was contrary to previous undertakings, he said.
“Your failure to act in this matter reinforces the suspicion that all the government wants to do is allow a little time to pass by and then try to reheat the DUP/Sinn Féin deal of last December.
“That will not work,” he warned, adding that a cross-community Executive was possible, but not with republican involvement.
“If you will not resume that Assembly that leaves us with the only realistic course which is to try to democratise direct rule as soon as possible.”
Mr Murphy replied: “We are not going to rule anything out or anything in and we mustn’t have closed lines to any particular suggestions.
“Whatever happens it seems to me that direct rule is the worst of all options and there should be an attempt to cut that democratic deficit in whatever the best way is.”