Northern Ireland

Mike Nesbitt repeats call for UUP and DUP electoral pact

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Media captionUlster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has repeated his call for an electoral pact with the DUP at next year's Westminster election.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has repeated his call for an electoral pact between his party and the DUP in next year's general election.

He told his party's conference that the UUP was prepared to support the DUP in North Belfast if they stepped aside in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

He said there was a danger the DUP could lose their north Belfast seat and leave Belfast without any unionist MPs.

"That is a danger that should galvanise unionism," he said.

On Thursday, Mr Nesbitt said he was prepared to ask supporters to vote DUP in North Belfast if the DUP stepped aside in Fermanagh South Tyrone.

Earlier, he told the party's conference: "The Ulster Unionist Party is prepared to support the DUP in North Belfast, because it is the right thing to do for unionism.

'Successes'

"But in return, we expect them to support us in trying to return the most westerly constituency in the kingdom to unionist control.

"We want Fermanagh South Tyrone. We had a mighty result last May in Fermanagh South Tyrone. We can win the Westminster seat in Fermanagh South Tyrone."

Mr Nesbitt also told the conference that he wanted to build on "our successes of last May and focus on our next key electoral goal - the Ulster Unionist Party back into the House of Commons".

In May's council elections, the party slightly increased its percentage vote to 16.5% and won 88 of 462 seats.

He said the party was on course to have all its candidates in place before the end of the year.

Mr Nesbitt also said the budget must be the first issue addressed in talks between the five parties.

"If we cannot balance our books, there is nothing more to discuss. So let us do it, but with good grace."

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