Irish Republican News · March 10, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
John Taylor retiring from politics

Former Ulster Unionist MP John Taylor announced yesterday that he intends to retire from active politics.

Mr Taylor, now known Lord Kilclooney, announced that he had no interest in the position which could go to a vote at the party's AGM later this month.

``It is my intention to withdraw further from active politics,'' he said.

Lord Kilclooney, one of four Ulster Unionists on the North's Policing Board, also said he would not seek reappointment next year to the authority which holds Chief Constable Hugh Orde to account.

As he tries to lessen his political workload, the ex-Strangford MP is to end his European duties as well.

Commentators have suggested the move strengthens Reg Empey's chances if he decides to run for leadership against current leader, David Trimble.

Mr Taylor was a bitter critic of the 1985 Anglo Irish Agreement, but in 1991 he was among the first unionists to advocate talks with the Dublin government.

He unsuccessfully challenged for the party leadership in 1995, and was made deputy leader of the Ulster Unionist parliamentary party by David Trimble. Mr Taylor was an important ally to Mr Trimble during the 1998 negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement.

In 2001 he was given a seat in the House of Lords as Lord Kilclooney of Armagh.

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© 2004 Irish Republican News