Anna Lo – also chair of the Stormont Environment Committee – added Mr Elliot’s comments were designed to do little more than scaremonger and raise tensions among unionists and to further destabilise the political process.
She said: “Mr Elliot has got this completely wrong. In calling for the First Minister to effectively block the new super councils, he has sought to reduce RPA into a sectarian headcount.
“If his aim was to simply raise his concerns around moving to 11 councils, then it is fine for him to do so. However I have little doubt his real aim was to take another challenging topic and turn it into the next tribal issue to divide us.
“The RPA signals the dawn of a new local government era, built on a foundation of equality and with mandatory power sharing. It is completely unacceptable to play on concerns over the make-up of the electorate in Belfast or anywhere else.
“While there are still concerns around RPA, it has been agreed by the Executive and the Assembly. The real challenge lies in ensuring a smooth delivery. But this will never be achieved if certain parties remain intent on scaremongering.
“There must be a genuine commitment from everyone in the process.”