Unionism hurt by splits, says Foster

Arlene Foster
Arlene Foster

The DUP has called for unionists to cooperate ahead of May’s local government and European elections.

Breakaway parties risk shredding the unionist vote when it needs to be strong and united in the face of the nationalist challenge, senior MLA Arlene Foster warned.

She said unionism must step back and look at the damage caused by splits and splinters.

“The only winner from the inter-unionist bickering is Sinn Fein. While unionists focus on attacking each other, republicans and nationalists unite around two parties.”

Last month the DUP ruled out running a second candidate in the European election. Ms Foster said: “There was no risk to the DUP because it was highly unlikely that our existing seat would be put under any threat. However, the overall risk to unionism meant that party interests were put second. We did not want to risk the second unionist MEP seat.”

She added: “The DUP is always in favour of greater cooperation between unionist parties. The desire must be to have a strong and united unionism where all shades of unionism work together as a collective.”