Ulster Unionists have been asked to clarify their position after UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said he would vote SDLP ahead over other unionists in his consituency.
Upper Bann MP David Simpson made the call for clarity ahead of next month’s Assembly election.
The DUP man is urging local UUP candidates to make it clear whether their party leader’s comments represented their views.
“At last May’s Assembly election the number of votes cast for nationalist parties fell and the number of Assembly seats filled by nationalist MLAs was also reduced.
“There will be many Ulster Unionist Party members who will be dismayed that Mike Nesbitt wishes to reverse that trend through his desire to see nationalist representation in the Assembly increased ahead of other unionists.
“Unfortunately it seems that the Ulster Unionist Party does not even have a settled position on whether it wants to see unionism strengthened.
“I believe it is important for the unionist community of Upper Bann to be absolutely clear on where each candidate stand on this issue.
“If they choose to 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.
“For the DUP’s part and a position that I have always supported and encouraged is that we want to see unionism strengthened and advanced.
“To maximise unionist representation we would encourage voters to support DUP candidates in their constituency in order of preference advised in your area and then to transfer to other pro-union candidates.”