The DUP and UUP have agreed to run a single candidate at the forthcoming by-election in Mid-Ulster.
The context was sparked by the resignation of senior Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness from Westminster to concentrate on his duties as deputy First Minister
Former victims campaigner Nigel Lutton is the agreed Unionist candidate.
The DUP Mid-Ulster and UUP Mid-Ulster associations met separately on Thursday night and unanimously endorsed Mr Lutton.
Victims campaigner Willie Frazer told the News Letter that he will not run against Mr Lutton. Ulster Protestant Forum leader Jamie Bryson also said he will not be running in the by-election.
The TUV previously indicated they will not run in the by-election, leaving Mr Lutton as the only Unionist in the race.
DUP Leader Peter Robinson described the announcement of Mr Lutton’s candidacy as “tremendous news” and said he believed it will be welcomed by tens of thousands of Unionists in both the Mid-Ulster area and more generally throughout Northern Ireland as “a common-sense response to the demands to see unionists co-operating together”.
“Nigel is ideally placed, given his particular circumstances, to be a voice for those who want to see Mid-Ulster represented by a strong Unionist advocate,” he said.
Ulster Unionist Party leader Mike Nesbitt described Mr Lutton as “a man of total integrity”.
“We have listened carefully to the many pro-Union voters in Mid-Ulster who were calling for co-operation in this election and for the opportunity to end the long drought that has seen Mid-Ulster without representation in the House of Commons for 16 long years,” he said.
Mr Lutton commented: “I am looking forward to the campaign ahead. I am delighted to have received the endorsement of the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party. Being the agreed unionist candidate, is a positive move for unionism in Mid-Ulster. I am a lifelong unionist and I want to see unionism strengthened.”
The Mid-Ulster by-election will take place on March 7.
Sinn Fein have said they plan to run MLA Francie Molloy for the seat.