The Northern Ireland Conservatives' candidate in the European election has claimed he is only runner here who can join the full Conservative team in Brussels.
Mark Brotherston made the comments as he handed in his nomination papers at the Electoral Office in Belfast yesterday.
He was speaking after Ulster Unionist candidate Jim Nicholson signalled his intention to remain a member of the European Conservatives group if he was re-elected.
The veteran MEP has rejected Mr Brotherston's questions over whether he could remain a member of the Conservative group after he was elected on a joint UUP/Tory ticket at the last Euro contest in 2009.
"I'm the only candidate who can become part of the full Conservative Party team at Brussels," Mr Brotherston stressed. "That means influence where it counts and a mandate to reform Europe to work better for Northern Ireland and the whole of the UK."