Conservatives and Unionists East Belfast candidate Trevor Ringland has said that the DUP’s efforts to shift public attention on to South Belfast and a Unionist Unity candidate are “designed to blind the electorate to the real issues”.
“Mr Robinson does not get to decide what unionism is. Mr Robinson does not get to decide what Unionist unity is. Mr Robinson does not get to call other Unionists “liars” and then call for Unionist Unity.
“It is deeply insulting to the Unionist electorate to have disingenuous invitations to ‘unity’ dangled in front of them as some of sort of smokescreen. The DUP should be in no doubt – hurling insults in response to genuine questions about the activities of their leader is not the correct response – answering those questions is. .
“This is the party whose leader, Peter Robinson, called me a “liar” during a television interview on 2 April. He also called his fellow members of the Executive, Sir Reg Empey and Michael McGimpsey, “liars”. All this because we dared to ask for clarification on questions raised in two BBC television programmes.
“We invited him to clear his name in relation to a land deal, but he has yet to give satisfactory answers to the questions raised.
“Following the BBC Spotlight programme in early January, the First Minister sought legal advice and temporarily stepped aside until he had received and considered this advice.
“This advice was not published, and I call for it to be published now. Furthermore I call for Peter Robinson to withdraw his claim that I and Ministers Empey and McGimpsey are “liars”. Furthermore I again call on Peter Robinson to publish to publish the advice now.
“It appears that Unionist Unity in the minds of the DUP is to name call, attack and expect others to do their bidding. Our politics deserves more.
“The DUP are only capable of pressing old buttons that have served unionism so badly. Their recent behavior has been bad for unionism.”
Unionists have more in common than separates them. Together we can build a confidence and pride in what we believe in and what we stand for. We will be inclusive and a Northern Ireland for all in a UK for all.
I believe in a Unionism that has pride and confidence in itself, that is inclusive and will play a full role in Northern Ireland and the UK.