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DUP will not join forces with separatist SNP after election, says Peter Robinson

By Joanne Fleming

DUP leader Peter Robinson has said his party will not support a Westminster government that is captive to a separatist party after the general election.

Mr Robinson was asked would his MPs join forces with the SNP at Westminster.

He said: "We would not support any administration that was going to be captive to a separatist party. We are unionist, we want to retain the UK.

"If a government was being propped up by a separatist party that was using its position in order to extract levers of separation, then clearly we could not support that.

"However, if the ask of any party that forms such a support group for a government party is for purely regional issues then that is a very different matter indeed."

Mr Robinson made his comments about the SNP during a Press conference in Antrim yesterday. He was arguing that his party was the only one which could have any serious influence in Westminster if the election outcome is as tight as most predict.

The DUP has issued a five-point plan it will use as part of any negotiations following a hung parliament. Scrapping what opponents of welfare reform call the bedroom tax is one demand.

"We are the only party in Northern Ireland with a plan," said Mr Robinson. "That is not necessarily a criticism of the other parties because we recognise they have no need for a plan, because it will only be the DUP that will be in the position to negotiate after the election is over if there is a hung parliament.

"Sinn Fein won't be there so they don't count in any negotiations after the election. The SDLP are already being bought and paid for, they are standing in the Labour column. The DUP alone is free and unfettered in terms of those negotiations."

Mr Robinson said they had worked with both Labour and the Conservatives in the past and that, whatever the personal preferences of elected MPs, their priority would be to "get the best deal for Northern Ireland".

He added that unionist pacts - where the DUP has signed a pact with the Ulster Unionist Party to run joint candidates - were going down "extremely well right across the province".

Asked if his candidates detected any voter resentment over the pacts, he said: "None whatsoever, that is a story manufactured by those who are unhappy that unionists have been able to get their act together. We have been polling and I can assure you that if you take both North and East Belfast, in both of those cases voters are coming over to us on a rate of about three to one."

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