It comes as no surprise to me that the DUP is now getting into bed with UKIP after it instigated such reprehensible electoral pacts with the Ulster Unionists.
He certainly hasn’t publicised it himself but Peter Robinson has been having chats with UKIPs deputy leader about working together to bring about an early referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
I am appalled at the way in which the party treats those people who rely on the valuable links with Europe. Last night Diane Dodds was tweeting from a meeting in Portadown saying that the DUP is standing up for farmers.
Does she know her party leader is talking to UKIP and that DUP MPs could be the ones who bring about a referendum on an exit from the EU? If so how could she tell farmers they have any support whatsoever from the DUP?
If we leave the EU farmers will lose almost 90% of their revenue, which comes directly from Single Farm Payments under the Common Agricultural Policy. Last year almost 30,000 farmers made applications to the EU for this funding.
Last year Diane Dodds described the Single Farm Payment as being absolutely vital to farming and the economy. But yesterday UKIPs deputy leader said he and Peter Robinson would work together in the next Parliament to secure a referendum that ultimately aims to end our links with the EU.
UKIP also said it wasn’t standing in some constituencies in Northern Ireland to keep nationalist MPs out. It is difficult to argue now that the DUP don’t see pacts as being more important than actually standing up for their voters.
I will not stand by and allow such a valuable part of Northern Ireland’s economy to be threatened. The SDLP is the only pro-European party who have always unambiguously supported the link with Europe. I call on the DUP to come clean on its talks with UKIP and to give farmers here the support they deserve by announcing they will not pursue such a reckless, damaging pact with UKIP.