31/10/2003

UUP trio hit out at Robinson comments

The UUP have hit out at comments made by Strangford MP, Iris Robinson who claimed the withdrawal of a UUP member from a seat in Strangford for the forthcoming Assembly elections proved their party was in "total disarray".

UUP representative, Tom Hamilton confirmed last night that he was withdrawing from the forthcoming elections because of employment commitments outside of politics.

However, Mrs Robinson said she was not surprised that Mr Hamilton had withdrawn and that he had "read the writing on the wall and jumped before the electorate pushed".

"The Ulster Unionist party in Strangford has been in terminal decline for a number of years now but particularly since they lost the Westminster seat to the DUP in 2001, their support has ebbed away dramatically," she said.

Responding to the comments, David McNarry, Lord Kilclooney and Bob Little said: “It is quite incredible that Iris Robinson should make claims about candidates of other parties.

“We are a united team. We are not in disarray and unlike the DUP we do not run token candidates to make up numbers. We are serious about presenting candidates who are worthy of support from the electorate.

“When can we expect to see Jim Shannon and Iris Robinson canvassing together? Our understanding is that the DUP are fighting a contest within a contest between themselves.”

Mr Hamilton said his decision was "connected solely" to his employment commitments outside of politics.

(MB)

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