UUP meet to decide EU position

Jim Nicholson MEP, Councillor Carl McClean and Lord Empey at Ulster Unionist Party event in Crawfordsburn

Jim Nicholson MEP, Councillor Carl McClean and Lord Empey at Ulster Unionist Party event in Crawfordsburn

A meeting of the Ulster Unionist Party Executive will be held today to decide the party’s position ahead of the referendum in June.

On February 25 a five man UUP delegation led by Mike Nesbitt and including Jim Nicholson MEP, Tom Elliott MP, Lord Empey and Lord Rogan met David Cameron at Downing Street where they raised five areas of concern in relation to the EU debate, including funding for farmers and the implications on the border.

Nigel Farage

in Belfast for the Grassroots Out rally in the Titanic Exhibition centre on Friday March 4 (Photo by Kevin Scott/Presseye)

Nigel Farage in Belfast for the Grassroots Out rally in the Titanic Exhibition centre on Friday March 4 (Photo by Kevin Scott/Presseye)

Mr Nesbitt said the party was interested in listening to what people had to say about what is “one of the most important decisions” we will ever have to make in our lifetimes.

Yesterday, Lord Empey and Mr Nicholson were at the Crawfordsburn Inn for a party breakfast about Europe.

Lord Empey said: “A lot of people want to make an emotional decision. We want to make a decision based on the facts.”

He said that the Ulster Unionists would not take a “knee-jerk reaction”.

Jim Nicholson, Carl McClean and Lord Empey at UUP event in Crawfordsburn

Jim Nicholson, Carl McClean and Lord Empey at UUP event in Crawfordsburn

Referring to the Downing Street visit, he said: “We’ve gone to the top. No-one else has.”

Lord Empey said that uncertainties included whether or not in the event of a Brexit there would be a “hard border [with the Republic] or a soft border in which you count people out at Stranraer”.

Mr Nicholson told the News Letter that he had made up his own mind on the In Out referendum but he would not divulge his position ahead of the party’s “in-depth discussion” today.

• The DUP spring conference will also be held today and the party is expected to confirm all of its candidates for the Assembly elections to be contested in May.

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