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More e-mail woes for Alliance

Mark Devenport | 13:53 UK time, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Back in September the former Alliance European candidate, Ian Parsley, suffered some embarrassment when he e-mailed out a "holding statement" related to a newspaper claim that he was about to defect, but forgot to remove another e-mail which confirmed he was already deep in discussions with the Conservatives.

Now Mr Parsley's former leader, David Ford, has got himself into another e-mail mix up by sending a message meant for the Liberal Democrats to the SDLP. Mr Ford is staying mum about exactly what he said in his briefing note to Alastair Carmichael prior to the last Northern Ireland Questions, but Mark Durkan dropped a few hints about it during Tuesday's marathon justice debate.

Mr Durkan claimed the Alliance leader was already receiving confidential security briefings and, when told he had got his timetable wrong, he retorted that "we know the timetable of the e-mail to the Liberal Democrats in which he (Mr Ford) might not have said that it was time to be nice to Shaun Woodward, but he did say that Mr Woodward was trying to do the right thing in the current situation and that, perhaps, people should go easy on him."

Alliance sources have denied SDLP claims that the message showed they were soft pedalling their demands on a Shared Future, saying that what Mr Carmichael said in Northern Ireland questions demonstrated exactly the opposite.

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