Page last updated at 12:37 GMT, Friday, 15 August 2008 13:37 UK

Party set to lease headquarters

Cunningham House
The party moved into Cunningham House in 2001

The Ulster Unionist Party is to move out of its headquarters in east Belfast.

It is understood the party will relocate to party leader Sir Reg Empey's much smaller office, at least on a temporary basis.

The UUP bought Cunningham House in 2001, after selling its historic base in Glengall Street.

The move coincided with a dramatic downturn in fortunes both at the polls and financially.

Cunningham House was the scene of some of the worst party in-fighting over the Good Friday Agreement.

From its once pre-eminent position the party now finds itself trailing badly behind the DUP and this year it fell further into the red with a loss of just over 400,000.

It is understood Cunningham House will at first be leased. It is thought to be worth about 2m.

A senior source said that the building could no longer be justified as it frequently was used by just three staff members, with the majority based in Stormont.

The party has refused to comment.

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