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UUP accused over Robinson quit call

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Calls for Peter Robinson to stand down are a desperate attempt to deflect attention from Ulster Unionist splits, Sammy Wilson said

Calls for Peter Robinson to stand down are a desperate attempt to deflect attention from Ulster Unionist splits, Sammy Wilson said

Calls for Peter Robinson to stand down are a desperate attempt to deflect attention from Ulster Unionist splits, Sammy Wilson said

Calls for Peter Robinson to stand down are a desperate attempt to deflect attention from Ulster Unionist splits, Sammy Wilson said.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey is to step down in the autumn and has suggested the Democratic Unionist head should do the same.

DUP MP Mr Wilson dismissed the idea. "(This is) a desperate attempt by Reg Empey to deflect attention from the UUP's internal splits and divisions," he said.

"Reg Empey is missing the point. Peter Robinson's DUP strategy, vision and policies were endorsed across Northern Ireland whereas Reg's UUP strategy was rejected not just in South Antrim but right across the province."

Mr Robinson lost to the Alliance Party's Naomi Long in East Belfast at the recent Westminster poll but his party won eight seats. Sir Reg lost to the Rev William McCrea in South Antrim and his Conservatives and Unionists failed to win a seat. There will now be a leadership battle within the party to succeed him.

Sir Reg said the two main unionist parties need to review their entire approach to working together.

"There is an opportunity now to have a fairly clean slate - with a new leadership - to look forward to the next decade because we're going to have to think as unionists long-term, not short-term," he said.

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"Republicans look at it in terms of generations and I think we've got to start looking at it the same way."

However Mr Wilson said the latest swipe at the DUP was merely demonstrating and exposed the fear the UUP held of the First Minister's ability as a rival.

"If the UUP really thought Peter was a liability to the DUP then they would want him to stay just as I would be delighted for Reg to stay as UUP leader with David Trimble continuing to guide and direct him," he said.


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