There are growing indications that the Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, will face a significant challenge next week from the anti-Good Friday Agreement wing of the party.

One of Mr Trimble's main critics, Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson, claims there is increasing support for his decision to push for a vote on policy issues at a meeting of the UUP's ruling Council next Monday.

Mr Donaldson wants the party to reject the series of political initiatives proposed by the British and Irish governments to honour their commitments under the Agreement.

The anti-Agreement faction of the party supports the Donaldson line.

Yesterday another Trimble critic, former East Derry MLA Pauline Armitage, resigned from the UUP, saying it is not a party at the moment.

Meanwhile Lord Kilclooney, the former MP John Taylor, has been making statements that will certainly encourage the Donaldson wing.