Poots calls on UUP candidates to state their positions on vote transfers

Lagan valley DUP Assembly Candidate Edwin Poots has called on Ulster Unionist Assembly candidates to state their position on vote transfers after their party leader said he would transfer his vote to the SDLP ahead of other unionist candidates in next month's election.

Lagan Valley UUP candidate Robbie Butler (left) and DUP Lagan Valley candidate Edwin Poots (right).

Urging Robbie Butler and Jenny Palmer make clear whether Mike Nesbitt’s comments represented their views, Edwin Poots said: “In the 2016 Assembly election the number of votes cast for nationalist parties dropped. In Lagan Valley there will be many Ulster Unionist Party members who will be disappointed that Mike Nesbitt wishes to increase the support for nationalist parties.

Robbie Butler and Jenny Palmer therefore must now speak out and make clear whether their Leader’s desire to boost nationalism represents their views.

“If they remain silent then voters will have no option than to assume they are happy to support candidates who want Joint Authority with the Republic of Ireland imposed upon Northern Ireland.

“In the DUP’s literature in Lagan Valley we have been asking voters to transfer to other Pro-Union Candidates to see unionism strengthened and advanced.”

On his website UUP candidate Robbie Butler said he doesn’t tell people how to vote but asks them to “apply a litmus test across all candidates with regard to the issues that are most important to them.”

Outlining what he describes as ‘Robbie’s five point litmus test’, he goes on to say: “How honest do you consider the candidate to be?

“How much integrity do you consider the candidate to display?

“What is the candidate’s public record and what does their experience in life tell you?

“Does the candidate’s position on moral issues reflect your own and if not how do they treat those with opposing views?

“Does the candidate really want to deliver for all the people of Northern Ireland, represent and/or respect the Union within the UK?

“Voting is a democratic right and a personal issue but as a proud and constructive Unionist I would certainly hope that, if you apply the criteria above against all the candidates in your area, Unionist candidates from whichever party measure favourably and meet most, if not all, the tests.”