No Unionist pact - Cameron

THERE will be no pact with the DUP at the next General election, David Cameron has said.

Speaking to the News Letter, the Tory leader said there was "no chance" of the joint UUP-Conservative alliance standing aside in either Fermanagh and South Tyrone or South Belfast.

Mr Cameron visitd Northern Ireland this week to show support for European candidate Jim Nicholson.

The DUP has said that it would give the Conservatives and Unionists its choice of either seat if they agree to stand aside in the other.

But the man who many believe will be the next Prime Minister said that the Conservatives and Unionists would definitely field candidates in every constituency.

Asked whether his party would stand aside in any Ulster constituency, he said: "None. Out. None. Absolutely none whatsover.

"We're a United Kingdom party. I don't stand aside in Glasgow because it might help the Liberals. I don't stand aside in East London because it might help the Greens.

"This is a UK party and I want everyone in Northern Ireland to have the chance to vote for what I hope will be the next Government of our country."

Mr Cameron said that one of the first times he had come to Northern Ireland, before he was a politician, was to watch an Orange parade a friend had invited him to observe.

The Tories' former vice-chairman in Northern Ireland, Jeffrey Peel, controversially described the Orange Order as a "backward-facing, history-obsessed parish pump society".

On Mr Peel's comments, Mr Cameron said: "I think the point is that the Ulster Unionist Party has broken its links with the Orange Order and what I'm trying to do with the UUP is not look backwards, but look forwards and say we can build a new force in Northern Ireland...which can attract people irrespective of which church they go to or how they worship God or which part of the community they come from."

Mr Cameron insisted he would not abandon the "bold vision" if the European and General elections go badly for the new UUP-Tory alliance.

"I'm a very strong believer in the United Kingdom, that it's a family, and that families need things that bring them together and just as I believe the Conservatives can recover in Scotland, so I believe that in Northern Ireland there should be a Conservative United Kingdom alternative.

"I've believed this for many years, many years and yes, I will stick around for the very, very long haul."