Aiken makes bold ‘biggest party’ prediction

Steve Aiken would not say whether he planned to stand for the leadership
Steve Aiken would not say whether he planned to stand for the leadership

The UUP’s Steve Aiken made some particularly bold predictions during a radio interview with the BBC yesterday morning, including the claim that his party would win the most seats, despite only fielding 24 candidates.

Mr Aiken was given a difficult time by interviewer Stephen Nolan, as has been the case with politicians from other parties in the run-up to the election.

He came under fire from Mr Nolan for his repetitive use of the phrase “doing what’s right for Northern Ireland”, to which Mr Aiken replied: “What’s wrong with doing what’s best for Northern Ireland? It’s probably a bit better than saying Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams.”

Mr Aiken said: “I think we’re going to have more seats than Sinn Féin. I think Sinn Fein have real problems out there. We’re going to be the largest unionist party – we’re going into this election to win. I’m not predicting any seats, I’m not playing that game. We are going to be the largest unionist party.

“Can you tell us what way the electorate’s going to go? Can you tell us what’s going to happen? I don’t think anyone can.”

Asked whether fear of Sinn Fein was driving UUP voters towards the DUP, Mr Aiken said: “That’s not what I’m seeing. I’ve been knocking on 6,500 doors, I’ve talked to over 10,000 people and it’s clear that the only fear people have is getting another DUP-Sinn Féin government back and dealing with this sort of complete arrogance, incompetence, cronyism, and allegations of corruption.

“Let’s be certain about it – people want proper government, they don’t want to keep on along going with disasters. Look at the state of the healthcare system, look what’s going on in education, look what’s going on in infrastructure.”