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Cameron plans Northern Ireland speech to galvanise support for union

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Conservative Party leader David Cameron meets shoppers in Bury Market, Greater Manchester

Conservative Party leader David Cameron meets shoppers in Bury Market, Greater Manchester

Conservative Party leader David Cameron meets shoppers in Bury Market, Greater Manchester

David Cameron is planning a rousing pro-Union speech during a visit to Northern Ireland in a last-ditch bid to galvanise unionists behind his party.

Organisers of the event near Belfast say the Conservative Party leader will rally supporters during a visit scheduled for tomorrow with a speech outlining his fervent support for Northern Ireland as an integral part of the United Kingdom.

His visit will be conducted amidst tight security given the increased threat posed by dissident republican terrorists.

But senior Ulster Unionist figures say they expect Mr Cameron to make a campaign-lifting contribution that they hope will swing voters behind joint UUP-Conservative Party candidates.

The Ulster Conservative and Unionist — New Force (UCUNF) electoral tie-up is contesting all but one constituency, Fermanagh and South Tyrone, where independent Rodney Connor is standing as an agreed unionist candidate.

However, Mr Connor has said that he will take the Tory whip at Westminster if elected.

With the weekend polls still predicting a hung parliament, UCUNF winning two or more seats here could prove crucial to Mr Cameron.

“David will make a rousing, unashamedly pro-Union speech which we expect will galvanise the unionist electorate,” one of those involved in organising the Cameron visit said.

“The SDLP and Sinn Fein are unlikely to be happy with its content but that is what elections are about, putting forward your argument and asking the electorate to choose.

“This election is a magnificent opportunity for traditional unionists and Conservatives and many others who want to see change to cast their votes for that.”

UUP sources say they expect the UCUNF candidate in East Belfast, former rugby international Trevor Ringland, to run DUP leader Peter Robinson close in Thursday’s poll.

The First Minister has a comfortable majority of over 5,000 but has suffered personal setbacks in recent months after his wife, former MP Iris Robinson, revealed an affair with a teenager.

Mr Robinson has also faced questions over a £5 land deal with the deceased developer Fred Fraser.

Belfast Telegraph