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Our conjoined ministers

Mark Devenport | 17:33 UK time, Thursday, 19 February 2009

On Monday Peter Robinson took the Deputy Speaker David McClarty to task for lapsing into Sinn Fein language by adopting the term "Joint First Minister" to refer to Martin McGuinness.

Today the unrepentant UUP MLA hit back, accusing Mr Robinson of being more concerned about his personal status than the big picture and "ranting whilst Rome burns".

I notice over on the Sinn Fein website the party has come up with yet another formulation, referring to Mr McGuinness as "Co-First Minister". Gone, it seems, are the days when he had to grin and bear it as Ian Paisley treated him like a deputy dawg.

Between Co-First Minister and Joint First Minister, our top two politicians appear, in republican eyes at least, to be getting ever closer. They may be constitutionally Siamese, but to paraphrase the song it looks like one of them isn't pleased at all about this attempt to erode his legal title.

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