David Ford stated: “Over the past few years, Ulster Unionists have embarked on a political course which has shown an embarrassing lack of judgement at every turn. There have been offers of political positions in return for electoral favours, questions about accounts raised from within the party itself, and direct links to paramilitary representatives in the Assembly and on Belfast City Council.
“Questions about the offer of peerages to political rivals should be directed squarely at the Ulster Unionist leadership. But this is about more than one issue. We are talking about a whole series of disastrous Ulster Unionist strategies. Each move has been an attempt at hiding the fact the Ulster Unionists are a party without a purpose. And each move has failed catastrophically. It is clear they cannot now be trusted with essential decisions that affect our lives.
“Parties with a clear set of political priorities and a clear set of political objectives do not need to resort to daft tricks or ridiculous slogans. ‘Decent people’ are giving up on the Ulster Unionists. It is time for integrity, for fairness, and for honesty – it is time for the alternative. Alliance candidates will stand before the electorate to offer that alternative.”