Northern Ireland

Tom Elliott won't withdraw 'scum' comments

Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott has refused to withdraw comments he made about Sinn Fein and its supporters at the weekend.

On Saturday, Mr Elliott hit out at people waving Irish flags at Omagh Leisure Centre, calling them the "scum of Sinn Fein".

The comments have been widely condemned.

However, speaking on Monday Mr Elliott said he was the subject of hostility from republican supporters at the time.

"We have to realise that I was defending my position - I was defending my position from republicans who clearly wanted to shout me down, who didn't want to allow me to speak," he said.

"I have to say I believe it's the right of every democratic politician to be able to speak.

"I didn't heckle or shout at (Sinn Fein's) Michelle Gildernew or her team whenever they were speaking."

On Sunday, the brother of murdered PSNI constable Ronan Kerr described the UUP leader's comments as "prehistoric".

On his Twitter account, Cathair Kerr said that Mr Elliott's comments were "prejudiced".

He added: "People need to move forward. Would his voters still vote for him now?"

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