David Ford said: “The transfer talks group which is chaired by Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn is about to deliver recommendations to alleviate the transfer crisis in the interim, so Reg Empey has no excuse to be negative about the Hillsborough Agreement.
“Reg is scrabbling around looking for reasons to be cynical, and his destructive role does not play well with the public.
“We all acknowledge that the Hillsborough Agreement is not perfect but we need to move forward positively to deliver for the people of Northern Ireland. As always, Alliance will be constructive and pro-active. We have shown this by leading the transfer talks, and we will continue to work hard to secure progress, delivery and a shared future for all. From what people are saying to me, many traditional UUP voters want to see progress, they want to see people working together constructively and they feel let down by Reg Empey’s approach.
“Reg would do well to start being constructive because people are sick of his weak petulance and negativity.”