Sinn Fein has accused the DUP of using the issue of welfare reform to position themselves as potential future partners for the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Fein MLA Alex Maskey said that Peter Robinson had “chosen to provide backing vocals to the scaremongers in his party rather than providing real leadership on the issue of welfare reform”.
The South Belfast representative said: “The energy of the First Minister and the DUP should be concentrated on standing up to Tory cutbacks.
“Instead they are trying to explain away what is an unjustifiable assault on the working poor, the disabled and the unemployed.
“They are bandying around figures on the impact of standing up to welfare reform.
“Over three days this week DUP spokespersons have talked of British government imposed penalties and additional costs for refusing to implement welfare cuts ranging from £15 million to the First Minister’s staggering £1 billion and another £1.5 billion on an IT system.”
He added: “Clearly the DUP has decided to fight the European and local council elections on an anti-welfare state manifesto and they appear determined to replace the UUP as the Tory party’s new partner in the North.”