Peter Robinson has said that it is “sad” that there are six pro-Union candidates on the ballot papers for next month’s European election.
Speaking as DUP candidate Diane Dodds handed in her nomination papers yesterday, the First Minister said that there was a risk of “shredding the unionist vote”.
By contrast, he said that nationalists and republicans had just two candidates.
He hailed Mrs Dodds, who succeeded Jim Allister as the DUP’s MEP in 2009, as “a fantastic representative for Northern Ireland in Europe” and said he was “confident that the people of Northern Ireland will recognise and respond to Diane’s record and return her to the European Parliament in order to continue that work”.
Mrs Dodds said she had “consistently put Northern Ireland first” and added: “This election is not a referendum about our membership of the EU. The time for that debate will come and when it does the DUP will be to the fore of it in Northern Ireland. This election is about getting the best deal from Europe.”