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UUP veteran Jim Rodgers 'would never give transfer to nationalists'

By Noel McAdam

Another veteran Ulster Unionist has warned against party leader Mike Nesbitt's move to give a vote transfer to the SDLP.

Jim Rodgers said "under no circumstances" would he give his support to the SDLP.

The Belfast City Councillor also insisted he would not transfer to Sinn Fein or the Alliance Party.

"After I vote for the Ulster Unionist candidates I will be supporting the rest of the unionist parties in order of preference," the former High Sheriff added.

"Under no circumstances would I be giving my backing to the SDLP and Sinn Fein, as they are parties who want a united Ireland, or Alliance, as they were neutral on the Union and many of those members favoured a united Ireland."

His comments come a few days after UUP councillor Carol Black resigned, warning that Mr Nesbitt was putting the "whole ethos" of the UUP at risk.

"I am not saying that we can't work with our Catholic neighbours, but it's important that we safeguard the Union by voting for unionist candidates first," she said.

However, Jim Speers, UUP group leader on Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, said Mrs Black's departure had been coming for some time.

Mr Nesbitt said: "What I am trying to achieve is a stretch for some people, it's not going to be easy, and if it was, we would have done it by now. I am not deflected, I am determined. Northern Ireland deserves better," he said.

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