Call for UUP free run in key constituencies


ULSTER UNIONIST Party leader Sir Reg Empey has said if DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson is interested in unionist unity he should give the UUP a free run in the constituencies of South Belfast and Fermanagh-South Tyrone.

Mr Robinson and other senior DUP figures in recent weeks have been pressing for a unionist unity pact in these constituencies to try to win South Belfast back from the SDLP and Fermanagh-South Tyrone back from Sinn Féin.

Single unionist candidates facing Sinn Féin and the SDLP in each of these constituencies would have a good chance of winning South Belfast from the SDLP’s Dr Alasdair McDonnell and Fermanagh-South Tyrone from Sinn Féin agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew.

At the UUP agm in Belfast on Saturday Sir Reg said the DUP’s decision to compete in these seats or to support an independent unionist candidate, had handed them to nationalists.

“The honourable thing to do is to let us have the opportunity to win them back for unionism,” he said. “If this is done perhaps we can take seriously the calls for unionist unity. As the DUP do not hold either of these seats and never have held them, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Think about it Peter!” added Sir Reg.