East Belfast Alliance Assembly Member, Cllr Naomi Long, has said that Lord Molyneaux’s endorsement of Sir Reg Empey as a potential leader of the UUP is proof if any were needed of Sir Reg Empey’s hard-line unionist credentials.
Naomi Long stated, “Sir Reg has been desperately trying to portray himself as a moderate in this campaign, attempting to airbrush out his equivocation over the Agreement, his constant flirtations with the anti-agreement wing of the UUP, many of whom are now DUP candidates, his repeated attempts to undermine his Party leader and his consistent inability to show the kind of leadership necessary to deliver real co-operation, progress and sharing in Northern Ireland politics.
“The facts have now been exposed, not by his opponents, but by his friends. His own Party colleague and former Party leader, Lord Molyneaux, whilst endorsing the campaigns of DUP candidates Jimmy Spratt and Jeffrey Donaldson, in preference to selected UUP candidates, also suggested Sir Reg Empey should be leader of the UUP.
“It is clear where Lord Molyneaux believes Sir Reg stands — in Peter Robinson’s shadow. People in East Belfast can vote for the real thing — why would they choose DUP-lite?
“There is only one question facing the East Belfast electorate — will they choose the progressive, constructive and uniting politics of the Alliance Party, who remain fully and actively committed to delivering a shared future for the people of Northern Ireland or will they choose the divisive, tribal, and sectarian politics of the DUP. Whether the latter comes in the guise of Peter Robinson or Sir Reg is really immaterial.”