Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Thursday, 8 April 2010 19:16 UK

Hung parliament questions for unionists

Senior Conservative Theresa May
Theresa May was supporting Sir Reg Empey in the South Antrim constituency

Senior Conservative Theresa May has spent the day in South Antrim lending her support to Sir Reg Empey.

She told BBC Radio that Conservative Unionists were running candidates in all 18 constituencies but she refused to name key target seats.

Ms May said she had been talking to women candidates but delayed when asked which seats they were contesting.

She was also asked why Conservatives rejected Adrian Watson as the candidate for South Antrim but did not answer.

Hung parliament

Questioned on whether Conservatives would look to the DUP for support in the event of a hung parliament, she said: "What I'm doing, what all the candidates will be doing, across the UK, Conservatives and Conservative Unionist candidates will be doing, is fighting to get a Conservative majority in Westminster.

"I'm not thinking about a hung parliament. What I'm thinking about is actually getting a Conservative victory and getting the Conservatives into government in Westminster so that we can do the things we believe are necessary to ensure that we act now on debt, to get the economy moving, that we make the United Kingdom the most family friendly country in Europe."

Pressed on whether Conservatives ruled out seeking DUP support to form a government, Ms May said: "What I have said is absolutely clear. Here in Northern Ireland the Conservatives have entered into an agreement with the Ulster Unionists and we will be standing candidates as Conservatives and Unionist candidates.

Meanwhile, the DUP has been outlining what it will do in the event of a hung parliament.

Party leader Peter Robinson said his party would focus on four areas should other parties seek DUP support.

Arrangements

He said all negotiations must maximise the Northern Ireland block grant , promote the Northern Ireland economy, defend Northern Ireland values and advance east-west linkages.

Mr Robinson criticised the Ulster Unionists, the SDLP and the Alliance Party saying they already had arrangements with parties at Westminster.

He said the DUP was in a unique position and would secure the best deal at Westminster for the people of Northern Ireland.

The SDLP said it would seek to ensure that a hung parliament would not give "undue influence to those who would seek to limit political progress or sideline vital nationalist interests".

"It is therefore all the more important that the SDLP should have a strong mandate so that the voice of nationalism is heard when the vital decisions are being made," the party said.



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