Northern Ireland

Unionist unity with one party a non-runner - Paisley

Lord Molyneaux and Lord Bannside
Image caption Relations between the Ulster Unionists and the DUP have deteriorated since the days when they jointly opposed the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

The former DUP leader Ian Paisley, Lord Bannside, said he believed the creation of a single grand unionist party is a "non-runner".

On the possibility of a Sinn Fein First Minister in the future, he said he will have to accept the will of the people.

Lord Bannside's comments were in an interview for a Belfast Newsletter series on the future of the union.

Questioned about unionist unity, he dismissed the notion of one grand political party.

He argued that limiting the choice open to voters is not in the interests of the province but merely in the interests of those who want power.

Asked whether he could accept a Sinn Fein First Minister in the future, the former DUP leader says he would have to accept the will of the people.

However he points out that Sinn Fein did not become the majority party on his watch and pledges to play his part in preventing that happening in the future.

His party colleague, East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson, said his party would be fighting to win the next election.

He added: "Elections are about accepting the will of the people and I think that what we are hoping to do is to show that we are capable of running the country well and ask people to put their confidence in us."