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Friday, 11 May, 2001, 21:09 GMT 22:09 UK
Loyalist party cannot afford to run
Gary McMcMichael
Cashflow problems for Mr McMichael's party
The leader of one of Northern Ireland's loyalist fringe parties says he cannot afford to stand for election in his own constituency.

UDP leader Gary McMichael says the party has not got the finances or resources to allow him to put himself forward as an alternative unionist voice to that of the sitting Ulster Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson.

Mr Donaldson is a leading member of the anti-Agreement camp within his party.

Mr McMichael says it is unfair on the area's electorate not to have the choice of a pro-Agreement candidate.

Pounds
The UDP says it does not have enough election cash
Mr McMichael told BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme on Friday: "I'm not on the radio begging for money, if we had the resources we would fill that gap.

"We're not able to throw money at seats where there's not a great chance of winning.

"But there are no pro-Agreement (unionist) candidates in some constituencies and that is unfortunate for the electorate."

Lagan Valley

Among the other candidates standing in Lagan Valley are Edwin Poots of the DUP, Patricia Lewsley of the SDLP, Paul Butler of Sinn Fein and Seamus Close of Alliance.

The latter three are all pro-Agreement but Mr McMichael said despite this he thought they probably would not attract unionist votes.

Jeffrey Donaldson
Jeffrey Donaldson is the sitting MP
Mr McMichael also revealed his embarrassment over the fact that even in the local government election where his party hopes to field a number of candidates it faces problems.

A mix-up over the party's address has meant the chief electoral officer was not able to register the UDP in time and its name will not now appear on the ballot paper.

But Mr McMichael says he does not believe this will put off his voters who he says will be familiar with the UDP candidates.

Row over UUP councillor settled

Meanwhile, a dispute over the de-selection of one of Lisburn's longest serving Ulster Unionist councillors was settled on Friday night.

After a new vote, the party's Lagan Valley constituency association narrowly agreed that Ivan Davis was free to run in the local government elections.

The pro-Good Friday Agreement Assembly member had failed to win a selection contest in March, when four anti-Agreement candidates where put forward to contest the Town South electoral ward of the County Antrim town.

However, after a long-running row, the association said it would field five candidates.

Supporters of Mr Davis had urged him to run as an independent against anti-Agreement Ulster Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson in the constituency in the general election.

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