The following is a statement issued by DUP leader Peter Robinson following the announcement of the unionist pact.
Those who support the Union will recognise the significance of this pact.
This is the most comprehensive electoral agreement between our two parties in the last 29 years. Indeed, it is the product of discussions lasting six months.
I want to see unionists cooperating. Too often divisions are manufactured to create difference. Grassroots unionists want to see us working together to maximise the unionist vote. Such an approach is not just desirable, but it has been proven to be effective in increasing turnout amongst unionists.
I commend the constituency associations from both parties who have considered the bigger picture and accepted they should stand aside in the greater interests of unionism. Their sacrifice and efforts to strengthen unionism will undoubtedly be recognised in subsequent elections.
With a predicted hung parliament, I am calling on all unionists to unite behind these agreed candidates and maximise the pro-Union voice in the House of Commons. Sinn Fein MPs fail to take their seats. They leave their constituents without a voice in Parliament. Others do not represent unionism. All shades of unionism can lend their vote to these agreed candidates in the knowledge that their action could increase the number of unionists in the House of Commons and reduce the number of non-unionists returned.
There will be those who, while rejoicing that a four-constituency deal has been reached, would have liked to see Upper Bann and South Belfast also included. This has not been possible but we will work extremely hard to bring home a unionist in both these constituencies.