Nigel Dodds: Reg Empey is attacking other unionists when voters want a united approach

A letter from Lord Dodds of Duncairn:

By Letters
Friday, 13th May 2022, 7:06 am
Updated Friday, 13th May 2022, 3:25 pm
Counting in last week’s Stormont election at Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast.  A fractured unionist vote and a failure transfer to all pro-Union candidates saw three unionist seats lost, writes Lord Dodds
Counting in last week’s Stormont election at Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast. A fractured unionist vote and a failure transfer to all pro-Union candidates saw three unionist seats lost, writes Lord Dodds

Lord Empey (‘DUP have no-one to blame but themselves for disastrous election,’ May 12, see link below) points to a fall in unionist seats in the Northern Ireland Assembly to 37 from 40 in the previous term.

Whilst spotting the symptom, as all too often in the past he manages to miss the root cause.

At the election there were three constituencies where unionist seats were lost.

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Letter to the editor

Across North Antrim, East Antrim and Strangford, sufficient votes were cast to return 12 unionist MLAs yet only 9 were elected.

A fractured unionist vote and a failure transfer to all pro-Union candidates saw those three seats he points to lost.

Lord Empey also refers to issues for which there is no evidence yet then levels a charge that it was at St Andrews that changes occurred in relation to the election of a first minister.

Having referenced evidence it would be useful if he can produce a single sentence from the St Andrews Agreement which delivered that change. A desire to attack other unionists serves no purpose other than fuelling division and weakening the pro-Union cause.

That is the clear lesson to be drawn from this election — a united and cohesive unionism is not only what the unionist community what to see, but is what can ensure maximum unionist representation.

The unionist community want and expect better from all of us who stand publicly to promote our place within the United Kingdom.

As unionists we all share much more in common than divides us.

A shared commitment to promoting and enhancing that common cause will not just strengthen unionism, but can see increased unionist representation within the Northern Ireland Assembly and elsewhere.

Lord Dodds of Duncairn, House of Lords

• Other commentary:

• Owen Polley May 9: Unionists have an issue with sectarian SF, not with nationalism

• Ben Lowry May 7: Unionism now faces a considerable challenge in how to go forward