UNIONISTS have reacted with outrage at Anna Lo's comments that she would favour a united Ireland.
In an interview with the Irish News the Alliance MLA said she was anti-colonialist and thought it was "artificial" for the corner of Ireland to be part of the United Kingdom.
Arlene Foster, the DUP Enterprise Minister, led the charge by demanding an apology from Ms Lo, who is standing for Alliance in the European elections in May.
"What exactly does her reference to being 'anti-colonial' mean? Does Anna Lo believe that Northern Ireland is comparable to a colony and does she view unionists as colonists? Northern Ireland is not a colony; it is a full and equal part of the United Kingdom," Ms Foster stormed. She also took exception to Ms Lo's reference to Northern Ireland as "a corner of Ireland".
"Her language would have more in common with those republicans who can't even bring themselves to use the name of Northern Ireland," the minister declared.
Jim Nicholson, the UUP MEP, focused on his rival's claim that the economy would improve with the border gone.
"Northern Ireland is unquestionably better off as part of the United Kingdom, the fifth largest economy on the planet," he said.
Mr Nicholson added: "If Anna Lo's comments are reflective of the Alliance Party's position, it can no longer claim to be a 'middle-ground' party. I now call on the David Ford to clarify the party's position on whether or not support for a united Ireland is now official Alliance Party policy."
Jim Allister of the TUV, who hasn't said whether he is running for Europe, pointed to Alliance's support for a reduction of flag-flying days at Belfast City Hall as showing their "true colours".