Naomi Long MLA said: “I would strongly caution Reg Empey against the carping and whinging in which he has been engaged. The public clearly want progress and will judge harshly any party who is obstructive.
“Reg is demanding all party talks yet the UUP hasn’t even been at Hillsborough since Thursday night. Other parties including Alliance have sought to engage them, but they have absented themselves. They were also invited to submit a paper on improving the workings of the Executive and as far as I am aware have yet to do so. Calls for engagement against that backdrop lack any credibility whatsoever.
“These talks are a reality check for the Ulster Unionists, who are clearly not dealing well with the fact they are not the biggest party anymore and appear to be unable to forge a constructive role for themselves in this new political reality.
“In being so negative the UUP are endangering the Assembly and endangering the peace process. I believe that the public will punish them if they contribute to any difficulties the process is facing for narrow party political ends.
“Alliance is determined to protect the peace and progress which has been achieved over recent years. We will continue to play a constructive role in reaching agreement at this time, as it is clearly in the best interests of all the people that we do so.”