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Arrogant and unhelpful: Robin Swann hits out at Foster over call only DUP can win South Belfast

By Jonny Bell

UUP leader Robin Swann said Arlene Foster's declaration that only the DUP can win South Belfast in the General Election was both "arrogant and unhelpful".

Writing exclusively in the Belfast Telegraph the DUP leader said - at her invitation - she would be meeting Mr Swann to discuss election issues. The matter of pacts is sure to be raised. She said only her party could win the South Belfast seat in the June 8 vote.

Already the UUP has said it will not run in North Belfast, West Belfast and Foyle.

Mrs Foster said: "There can be no argument that the DUP is not only the lead unionist party but the lead party in South Belfast. Sadly, in 2015, the UUP did not accept that reality but, given the results in 2016 and 2017, it cannot now be disputed."

Read more: Arlene Foster: We won't go up against the UUP in Fermanagh... but there can be no argument that we lead unionism in South Belfast

Asked about the article in a BBC Good Morning Ulster interview, the new Ulster Unionist leader said: "It strikes me as a bit arrogant.

"I had hoped to go into discussions as Ulster Unionist leader with some sort of hope for unionism, for some sort of hope of coming to an agreement.

"I am still looking to have the conversation, still happy to go to the meeting, because unionism suffered at the March election and I was hoping there could have been a way forward and I am still hoping there is.

"But I am willing to talk - that attitude is not helpful at this minute in time."

At the weekend there were indications former UUP leader Mike Nesbitt would run in South Belfast.

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