Speaking at Belfast Crown Court during an adjourned bail application, the Antrim Line representative stated: “I renew my and my party’s appeal to Ulster Unionists to end the link with the PUP in the light of the local murder attempt.
“It is fortunate that Mr Haddock escaped this murder attempt and it is sadly ironic that he was seeking to take measures to protect himself when this incident occurred. No one has the right to take life and the one small measure of comfort that can be taken from this murder attempt is that those behind it may be brought to justice.
“The political damage continues for the Ulster Unionist Party as an indirect result of this murderous attack despite the efforts of its spin doctors in recent weeks. It is unacceptable for any democratic party to seek to align itself with paramilitary organisations involved in criminality. Proper democratic institutions can only be effectively established on the basis of primacy of the rule of law and the pursuit of politics for exclusively political purposes. The use of violence for alleged political purposes has no place in any genuine democratic society. There can be no half-way house.
“The change in emphasis from alleged gains for Unionists over Sinn Féin to the hint that progress could be made with the UVF over its involvement in criminal activity is not justified by the evidence.
“This would be more believable if it were not for the Haddock shooting. There is absolutely no evidence of a change of heart on the part of this paramilitary organisation and no suggestion that an association with the UUP will force it to mend its ways. I would hope that the Ulster Unionists will be able to take the decision to part company with such people in the near future.”