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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 March 2008, 22:13 GMT
Empey rejects closer ties to DUP
Sir Reg Empey addressed delegates at the UUP conference
Sir Reg Empey accused the DUP of splitting unionism
Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey has said his party would not form closer ties with the DUP when a new leader has been selected.

Speaking at the UUP Foyle Constituency AGM, Sir Reg said there was speculation a new DUP leader would reach out the hand of friendship to his party.

"The UUP didn't put itself through hell over the past decade just to kiss and cosy up to the DUP now," Sir Reg said.

He accused the DUP of splitting unionism down the middle.

"I might have been more favourable had the DUP not spent the past 10 years pouring bile upon our efforts with the Belfast Agreement; then turning round and implementing it entirely to the advantage of themselves and Sinn Féin," Sir Reg said.

"I might have been more favourable if it didn't look like the DUP were only holding out the hand of friendship to cover the fact that they may be having troubles of their own."

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson is being widely tipped to take over from Ian Paisley, who announed on Tuesday that he would be resigning as first minister and DUP leader in May.

Robinson tipped as new DUP leader
05 Mar 08 |  Northern Ireland
DUP successor 'must do business'
05 Mar 08 |  Northern Ireland
Paisley to quit as first minister
04 Mar 08 |  Northern Ireland

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