Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

DUP's Edwin Poots calls for unionist 'coalition' with TUV and UUP

DUP's Michelle McIlveen who won a seat in the Strangford election at the count in Newtownards Leisure Centre in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections.
Gregory Campbell celebrates with his wife Frances and party workers after he was reelected to the Northern Ireland Assembly
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland -Monday 5th May 2011 - Picture by Jonathan Porter/ - Counting starts at different count centers across Northern Ireland after voters went to the polls yesterday to elect new members for the Stormont Assembly and local councils. Voters are also took part in the referendum regarding the way Westminster MPs are elected. Counting starts at the Kings Hall in south Belfast.

The Democratic Unionist Party's Edwin Poots has appealed for a unionist pact after topping the poll in Lagan Valley.

The former environment minister said he was overwhelmed by his 7,329 votes in the constituency, more than 2,000 ballots over the quota.

Mr Poots said he expects all three of his running mates - Jonathan Craig, Paul Givan and Brenda Hale - to be returned to Stormont along with him.

"Lagan Valley will play an integral part in the DUP remaining the biggest party at Stormont," he said.

Mr Poots insisted it wasn't important for him to outpoll the Ulster Unionist Party's Basil McCrea, who was also elected on the first count, on 5,771 votes.

The DUP MLA said the key issue now was a "coalition" with the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) ahead of the next polls.

A united front was needed to secure the union and maintain the British tradition in Northern Ireland, he said.

"I would suggest to members of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) that they reflect over the next weeks and months about looking to do business with the DUP," he added.

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