Nesbitt has said that the revelations about the Provisional IRA have shattered trust in Sinn Fein and the UUP
can no longer work in coalition with the republican party.
Democratic Unionist leader and Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson attacked the UUP
decision to vote against the devolution plans.
The Taoiseach said the UUP
remained a significant player in Northern Ireland politics.
spokesman Dermot Nesbitt welcomed the defections, saying the party would now be able to ``unite''.
Mr Trimble's leadership of the UUP
has been called in question since the party's losses in the Westminster and local government elections.
Another five years of failure?" The UUP
walked out of the executive last autumn amid a crisis sparked by an IRA-linked killing.
spokesman added it wants the UK to press for further reform and a return to free trade.
The Good Friday Agreement has been stalled for the past 19 months because the UUP
refuses to form a power-sharing government with Sinn Fein unless the IRA agrees to give up its guns and bombs.
"With no other sensible rationale, the UUP
has resorted to one attack after another on the DUP proving that this is nothing more than a selfish party political stunt."
and Tory link-up came under further pressure last night as it was revealed a new member of the UUP
party is a former friend of loyalist terrorists.
deputy leader Danny Kennedy and chief negotiator Alan McFarland were regarded as the most likely contenders for a place at the Cabinet table.
The move will come as a major blow to the UUP
who're still reeling from losing their electoral crown to the DUP.