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Statement by Peter Robinson, then Deputy Leader of the DUP, following a Meeting with the Orange Order and the UUP on a possible Electoral Pact, 18 March 2005

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Text: Peter Robinson ... Page compiled: Brendan Lynn

Statement by Peter Robinson, then Deputy Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), following a Meeting with the Orange Order and the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) on a possible Electoral Pact, (18 March 2005)


"We are disappointed that the talks over a potential unionist pact have broken down without progress. We are grateful to the Orange Order for facilitating the discussion and have no doubt that a deal would have been in the wider interests of unionism. It is however clear that the UUP had decided to dig its heels in over the two constituencies in which a deal could have helped.

The reality is that in only two seats, South Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone could a voting pact between the two parties result in a positive outcome for unionism. We have indicated in the past and do so again that although we won more votes in both seats at the European Elections we are willing to stand aside in one of the seats in the interests of unionism.

The Ulster Unionist proposals amount to an admission of defeat by them in unionist held seats across the Province and an attempt to boost the total nationalist vote.

The Ulster Unionist proposal that unionists should not contest seats presently held by either party is an admission of defeat which has absolutely no practical benefit. Their priority is to save their own skin rather than improve the overall result for unionism. There can be no possible argument against giving the unionist electorate a choice in constituencies where a nationalist cannot win the seat. The only reason for the UUP to put forward such a proposal is because of the state of panic that grips its campaign.

Every election is a referendum on the constitutional position of Northern Ireland and the Ulster Unionist proposals would have resulted in unionists in a number of constituencies being asked to vote for the SDLP. Such a tactic is more likely to annoy unionists and galvanise Sinn Fein than deliver results.

Our interest is in maximising the unionist vote, not acting as election agents for the SDLP, and boosting the total nationalist vote at the election. The Ulster Unionist suggestion would lead to a situation where in all likelihood, Sinn Fein would have emerged as the largest single party in Northern Ireland."


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