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UUP link with Conservatives not a disaster

I WISH to challenge your editorial (Comment, January 4). The Conservative and Unionist project of 2009/10 should be reassessed - it was not the disaster that is so often trotted out by commentators.

It delivered the first unionist seat in the 2009 Euro election, with 17% of the vote, and 102,000 votes across just 17 constituencies in the 2010 General Election.

Reg Empey narrowly failed to win South Antrim, a credible result given the late selection and complications of the selection process.

This result saw the UUP vote stabilise for the first time in 20 years. In comparison, the UUP vote in the recent Assembly election fell to 87,000 across the province.

This project can be reassessed in light of the recent Assembly election. The UUP vote fell to 13% in the 2011 Assembly election without the Conservative link.

This project succeeded in moving the debate onto a Left-Right framework, as voting Conservative and Unionist gave voters the opportunity to vote out a discredited Labour government which left the UK with the biggest deficit since the Second World War.

This was a move towards real politics and full participation in the Union.

JOHNNY ANDREWS

Way Forward Group

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