Naomi Long responds to Belfast Telegraph Alliance 'hijack' plot story - it was 'just tongue in cheek'
Alliance leader Naomi Long has responded to the Belfast Telegraph over revelations senior figures in her party were involved in a plot to "hijack" a BBC programme.
This newspaper exclusively revealed a secret Alliance Facebook group and messages sent out by the party's director of communications urging supporters to call into Radio Ulster's TalkBack show.
Tuesday, saw the Alliance leader take to the stage for her party's manifesto launch at a Belfast hotel.
Responding to a question from journalist Claire O'Boyle whose exclusive Belfast Telegraph report caused shockwaves through the election campaign, Mrs Long said the messages may have been of more concern to her 'had they been serious'.
She said: "The comments made were tongue in cheek precisely because we often struggle to even get our people invited places on audience debates.
"So the tongue in cheek was quite clear."
She added: "I hope that you will include on your front page tomorrow the fact that I was able - despite having flu - that I was able to take questions.
"I noticed that the paper buried on half a page inside the paper today the fact our former first minister didn't take any questions at her manifesto launch.
"And so I think in the spirit of journalism, it will be interesting to see what prominence our willingness to answer questions and be open and accountable will be given in the paper tomorrow."
Yesterday the DUP leader Arlene Foster refused to take questions from the media at her party's manifesto launch. She told supporters and Press she had "man flu".
The story and updates to it, were the lead articles on the Belfast Telegraph website for most of the day. The lead article on Mrs Foster's man flu was the most read story of Monday.