Conservatives and Ulster Unionists have set up a core team to support veteran MEP Jim Nicholson in the looming European election campaign.
The first meeting of a joint committee established by both parties agreed a direct connection between Mr Nicholson’s officials and Tory central office.
UU Assembly deputy leader Danny Kennedy was unable to attend, but the Conservative side included Shadow Secretary of State Owen Paterson and Marion Little, the senior ‘battleground’ director from Conservative central office.
Neil Johnston, chairman of the NI Conservatives, said: “The core team working on Jim Nicholson’s campaign is now in place and we have direct liaison with the campaign team at central office.”
And with the DUP due to select its candidate for the June election next week, UU chairman David Campbell said: “The DUP is unable to choose a candidate for Europe whereas we have hit the ground running.”