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I don’t want UUP leadership race to be a slagging match, says Tom Elliott

By Noel McAdam

Ulster Unionist leadership hopeful Tom Elliott has warned against the contest to replace Sir Reg Empey becoming a “slagging” match.

But he insisted the four-week race should not prove divisive for the party and made clear he would serve under rival Basil McCrea, if he wins.

“There is always that concern that it will become personal, but I would hope not. I would just appeal it does not get to that stage,” the Fermanagh MLA told the Belfast Telegraph.

His comments came as Mr McCrea prepared to launch his battle campaign — ‘McCrea Direct’ — in Mr Elliott’s Fermanagh backyard.

Asked if the contest could re-open wounds in the party still reeling from its electoral tie-up with the Conservatives, Mr Elliott said: “There is no issue as long as everyone accepts the outcome. And if someone else wins and I don’t, which I am not preparing for, then life goes on, I will get on with life in the UUP.”

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