Page last updated at 13:14 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010

Arlene Foster 'would step aside in general election'

Arlene Foster, acting First Minister of Northern Ireland
Arlene Foster says she would like to see the seat back in unionist hands

Arlene Foster has said she is willing to step aside in Fermanagh/South Tyrone at the general election if an agreed unionist candidate can be found.

The DUP candidate made her comments as speculation continues over a possible electoral pact between her party and the Ulster Unionists.

The seat is held by Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew.

Ms Foster said she would like to see it back in the hands of unionists.

"Well I'm not happy to give my Westminster ambitions up because obviously I believe as a unionist that the mother of parliaments is the ultimate if you like," she said.

"And so if I do step aside or need to step aside for a unionist unity candidate it's something that I will do because it's in the better interests of unionism.

"It doesn't mean necessarily that I wouldn't want to be there on occasions, but if it has to be done it has to be done and I will do it."

Ms Gildernew has been Sinn Fein MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone since 2001, winning by just 53 votes to take the seat previously held for 18 years by Ulster Unionist Ken Maginnis.

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