Mr Ford was speaking after the UPRG magazine The Loyalist said it “would strongly urge a vote for Emma Little-Pengelly” in South Belfast. The former Justice Minister said it was particularly troubling, given this week’s killing of a man in a packed shopping centre car park, believed to be part of an ongoing UDA feud.
“Arlene Foster needs to make clear if her party accepts an endorsement by a group closely connected to the UDA. The electorate, particularly in South Belfast where this endorsement was given, deserve to know.
“It is bad enough to have paramilitaries backing a political party at any time but it is especially troubling in this case, given it comes in the same week as a murder which is believed to be part of a UDA feud. It is now 2017 – paramilitaries should not even exist, never mind be giving ringing endorsements of political candidates.
“Questions remain over the Social Investment Fund – many thought it as nothing more than a paramilitary slush fund, with a particular emphasis to the UDA. This endorsement of the DUP by that same group does nothing to dispel those views.”