Stephen Farry stated: “UUP are continuing to flirt with unionist pacts, and are seeking to get around the commitment of UCUNF to run in all 18 constituencies by seeking solo unionist runs. The current backbiting between the DUP and UUP over this matter is missing the mark of where the people of Northern Ireland want the political debate to be.
“UCUNF is trying to ride two horses at the same time in this Westminster Election. They want to give the impression that they are a modern, progressive force committed to shared future while at the same time trying to exploit opportunities for unionist unity.
“Talk of unionist unity is the antithesis of talk of a shared future. Any unionist pact sends out the message that it is group solidarity and the exclusion of the other side that matters above and beyond all other considerations. The future of the Northern Ireland within the UK is not at stake in this election, nor is any notion of sectional control of the Assembly. This election must be about issues, both local and national, and the quality of representation on offer.
“Even if no pacts finally emerged, the UUP have thought about it and flirted with it, and the electorate of Northern Ireland will get the message. In hitching themselves to the UCUNF horse, the Conservative Party is as guilty of engaging in sectarian politics as their UUP partners