Opportunity to take back Newry and Armagh, says Nesbitt

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The following is a statement issued by UUP leader Mike Nesbitt following the announcement of the unionist pact.

The Ulster Unionist Party and the DUP have reached an understanding regarding the General Election. The Ulster Unionist Party will have the support of the DUP for Tom Elliott in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and Danny Kennedy in Newry and Armagh. In return, the Ulster Unionist Party will support Nigel Dodds in North Belfast and Gavin Robinson in East Belfast.

We began these discussions in October proposing an anti-abstentionist arrangement for Fermanagh and South Tyrone and North Belfast.

Since then it has become clear that there is potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity to take back Newry and Armagh, albeit this will be extremely difficult to achieve.

Our support for the DUP in East Belfast should ensure an additional pro-Union MP for the city of Belfast in the next mandate.

I acknowledge there will be those who feel disappointed that no understanding was possible in South Belfast. The key now is to get the pro-Union vote out on May 7, not just in South Belfast but across Northern Ireland.