As chairman of the Ulster Unionist Councillors Association, I would like confirm my unequivocal support for our leader, Tom Elliott, for his refusal to disband the Ulster Unionist Party.
Since the creation of Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionist Party has provided unparalleled representation and delivery at local, regional, national and European levels of government.
At present, we have 1 MEP, 16 MLAs, 98 councillors and 23 offices across the country, as well as a significant membership throughout Northern Ireland.
When given the choice between our party and the Northern Ireland Conservatives, voters place their trust in the Ulster Unionist Party because they know we are best placed to serve them.
Like all unionists, I am acutely aware of the need for pro-union parties to work together to oppose nationalism and I trust that our two parties will continue to enjoy a friendly relationship.
However, Tom is right to assert that we will not forsake our party for a "shot in the dark". He is protecting our identity, history and record of service for the people of Northern Ireland.
Chairman, Ulster Unionist Councillors Association