Mid Ulster unionists clash on Twitter over lack of Westminster election pact

Counting begins  at the by-election to fill the vacant Mid-Ulster seat at Cookstown Leisure centre.
Counting begins at the by-election to fill the vacant Mid-Ulster seat at Cookstown Leisure centre.

Unionists in Mid Ulster have clashed on social media over the lack of a unionist pact for the forthcoming Westminster election.

In an interview with the Mail, the UUP candidate in Mid Ulster Sandra Overend said she would welcome the support of the DUP to contest the seat currently held by Sinn Fein’s Francie Molloy.

She made the comments, just days before the UUP and DUP announced pacts in four constituencies, which did not include Mid Ulster.

Watch Sandra Overend’s interview with the Mail here

In the 2013 by-election, both unionist parties were joined by the TUV in supporting the agreed candidate Nigel Lutton, who increased the unionist vote [12,781 votes], but was still far short of France Molloy’s 17,462 votes.

James Shiels who is a DUP councillor, accused Mrs Overend of thwarting a pact in Mid Ulster.

Cllr James Shiels

Cllr James Shiels

“DUP (and a few UUPers) wanted a unity candidate, someone to unite all unionists, but Sandra wanted it her way or no way,” he posted on Twitter.

Sandra Overend dismissed the claim saying: “That’s not even spin, James, it’s complete lies! I’m more than surprised at you!”

The DUP man replied: “It is truth. If you want a unity candidate step aside and let’s get one... There is still time.”

He continued: “People want unity. DUP will stand aside if unity candidate can be found.. Will you do the same?”

If you want a unity candidate step aside and let’s get one... There is still time - James Shiels

Mrs Overend replied: “You’re laughable, stop spinning. Twitter is no place for negotiations.”

The UUP's leader Mike Nesbitt, Tom Elliott and Sandra Overend.

The UUP's leader Mike Nesbitt, Tom Elliott and Sandra Overend.

Agreed Unionist Candidate Nigel Lutton at the by-election to fill the vacant Mid-Ulster seat at Cookstown Leisure centre.

Agreed Unionist Candidate Nigel Lutton at the by-election to fill the vacant Mid-Ulster seat at Cookstown Leisure centre.