Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

Traditional Voice did not seek pact with the UUP

I write in response to letters from the DUP arising from the Traditional Unionist Voice meeting with the UUP on October 13.



The points made by some correspondents are clearly intended to be politically opportunistic; others may arise from misunderstanding of the facts. So, as ever, the simple truth is the best antidote. There is no pact between TUV and UUP, nor was one ever sought, desired or intended by either party.

My opposition to the pro-Belfast Agreement policies of both the UUP and DUP is not up for negotiation. The overriding purpose of the meeting, as the resulting statement made clear, was to address the threat in the European election of nationalism winning two seats.

Whatever the disagreements within unionism, I hope every unionist would wish to see two unionists returned to Brussels, rather than two nationalists.

Hence, the logic of the joint statement saying that ‘we agreed on the priority of retaining two unionist representatives in Europe. This should be the overriding priority of all unionists in respect of this election. Such is only attainable by full utilisation of transfers between the unionist candidates. Thus, we agreed to recommend such a voting strategy to all unionist voters’.

The statement is not espousing any exclusive voting pact, but is recommending unionist voters, of all shades, should fully utilise their transfers between all unionist candidates. Thus, if the DUP, in the face of two sitting Unionist MEPs, insists on splitting the vote by providing a third candidate, then the advice proffered was that unionists should vote down the unionist ticket 1, 2, 3. Does anyone, who wants to retain two seats in Europe, disagree with that, or know of any other way of attaining it? I cannot insist how anyone votes, but I do make clear how two Unionist MEPs can best be assured.

Jim Allister MEP

Belfast

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