Belfast Telegraph

Did DUP have wrong army in campaign photo?

The campaign material used by the DUP
The campaign material used by the DUP

By Eimear McGovern

A UUP MLA has questioned which army the DUP is supporting after a piece of promotional election material on its commitment to the armed forces appeared to show troops from a foreign country.

The DUP said it was "valuing our veterans and soldiers" in the graphic, which was shared widely on social media platform Facebook.

The picture of soldiers' legs from the knees down in camouflaged combat fatigues has been questioned with some pointing out it may not be the British Army.

UUP MLA Doug Beattie, an Army veteran, spread the post asking if anyone could identify the origin of the uniform.

"Which military are the DUP valuing in this picture? I don’t think it’s Belgium. Let's not take it too seriously," he tweeted.

A DUP spokesman said the UUP should be standing with the party on defence issues.

"It's an illustrative graphic to show that as part of our confidence and supply agreement we secured a commitment to maintaining the UK’s NATO target of 2% GDP for the defence budget so there is more money to support our armed forces.

"Rather than worrying about the colour of trousers, the UUP would be better to stand with us on our commitments than poking holes in a Facebook post."

Social media users have suggested the army represented in the picture could be from the Netherlands, Belgium, Sri Lanka or South Africa.

On Facebook, one man added: "So supportive you could not be bothered to use a picture of our servicemen and just went with a random stock image."

In the original Facebook post, the DUP said it wanted "to strengthen our defences and support service personnel and veterans".

"️Full implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant across the UK, bringing the national Armed Forces Day to Northern Ireland, ️maintain our independent nuclear deterrent, review of the present terrorism legislation, legal protections for soldiers and veterans."

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