Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 30 July 2014

We won’t enter pact with DUP in Belfast, veteran Ulster Unionist insists

Unionists have dismissed claims that they are planning to form a single unit in Belfast City Council.

Discussions were under way last week about the possibility of formal co-operation between the DUP, UUP, PUP and independent member Frank McCoubrey in an effort to increase unionist representation on committees.

However, the Ulster Unionists, whose numbers have fallen to an all-time low at Belfast City Hall, said they would not be following their colleagues in Castlereagh council into a carve-up with the DUP.

“The UUP will not be forming a pact with the DUP, end of story,” said veteran councillor Bob Stoker (right).

“We have not formally discussed it yet, but sounding |out other members, it is unlikely to happen.” With just three elected members returned, the UUP will not be entitled to membership on any of the council’s six committees.

“We will get absolutely nothing,” added Mr Stoker. “We may have got something if there was an alignment with the DUP, but people voted for me as an Ulster Unionist and I will be staying an Ulster Unionist.”

The PUP, which has two councillors, has also said it would not be swallowed up by the DUP.

Hugh Smyth, a councillor of almost 40 years, said: “Even if the unionists come together as one unit and there was a pact tomorrow, they will not have overall control of the council as they have in Castlereagh.

“Alliance will still control Belfast City Council as they have done for the past three or four terms.

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