| 12.2°C Belfast

Demand is growing for unionist unity

The facts speak for themselves as to how unity is essential to deliver greater success for unionism at the polls - Fermanagh and South Tyrone, South Belfast and East Belfast (where Naomi Long's majority was smaller than the handful of votes cast for the TUV) can all be won back for the Union if unionists put their differences aside and start co-operating.

In Fermanagh and South Tyrone, the United Unionist candidate fell short by four votes. That means the seat can be won back with greater effort.

It is also true that in that constituency a greater number than four people spoiled their ballots by writing 'TUV' across the paper.

The contribution of some TUV supporters to the unity campaign in Fermanagh and South Tyrone was to spoil their ballots and hand the seat to Gildernew. Such self-defeating behaviour is a perfect demonstration of why we need greater co-operation and unity.

The desire for unionist unity is keenly felt within the unionist community. It would be arrogant for any party to dismiss the wishes of the pro-Union electorate.

Those who wanted to splinter unionism into three received their answer at the polls. They should respect the verdict of the voters.