Northern Ireland

Mike Nesbitt says DUP 'is not getting more' from unionist pact

Mike Nesbitt
Image caption UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said neither he nor DUP leader Peter Robinson got everything they wanted from the deal

The Ulster Unionist leader has said he does not believe the DUP is getting more out of their unionist electoral pact than his party.

The deal involves four constituencies, where the UUP and DUP will field a single candidate in May's election.

Some commentators have said that the Ulster Unionists have been given the two more difficult seats to win.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said neither he nor DUP leader Peter Robinson got everything they wanted from the deal.

Mr Nesbitt said the pact, reached in a bid to increase unionist representation at Westminster, was part of his long-term strategy for the UUP.

'Reasonable show'

His party is standing aside in both North and East Belfast in favour of the DUP.

In return, the DUP is encouraging support for UUP candidates in Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and in Newry and Armagh.

"It's not the deal that I wanted but it's not the deal that Peter Robinson wanted and it is additional to the strategy, " Mr Nesbitt told BBC Northern Ireland's Sunday Politics programme.

"Within the context of this, I'm looking at two electoral cycles which run through to 2021.

"We started last year with a reasonable show at local government level, we want to build on that on the 7th of May," he added.

When the pact was announced last week, Mr Nesbitt expressed regret that the pact did not include South Belfast, a seat currently held by SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell.

Views have another chance to see this interview as Sunday Politics is repeated on BBC One Northern Ireland at 23:00 GMT.