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DUP planning ‘most sectarian election ever', says PUP's John Kyle

Former PUP leader John Kyle has criticised the DUP's election tactics 
Paul Ainsworth

THE DUP are preparing for the “most sectarian election ever," according to a unionist rival who has accused the party of “fearmongoring”.

Former PUP leader John Kyle has warned that Arlene Foster could aim for a repeat of last year’s Assembly election campaign, which critics dubbed ‘Project Fear’ over the DUP’s claim that splitting the unionist vote would lead to Martin McGuinness ascending to the role of First Minister.

Belfast councillor Dr Kyle, who unsuccessfully stood for an East Belfast seat in the 2016 Stormont poll, spoke out after Monday’s resignation by Martin McGuinness that is expected to trigger an election in March.

In a tweet on Tuesday, he wrote: “I suspect that the DUP, mired in allegations of corruption and incompetence, will make this the most sectarian election ever.”

Speaking to the Irish News, Dr Kyle said a repeat of the DUP’s tactics this time around would further damage relations between the north’s two communities.

“They played the sectarian card at the last election by saying that Sinn Féin would be entitled to the First Minister position, but that was never a realistic possibility,” he said.

“My concern is they will try this again in a bid to scare unionists into voting for them. However, despite their fearmongering, I think many voters will be able to see through the bluster, and are aware of the incompetence of the party that has led to this crisis.

“People want politicians who will do business and represent their interests. The loyalist community, in particular, have been used and abused by the DUP, and they deserve better. Further spreading of fear will only serve to exacerbate a divided society.

“Politicians should behave with integrity and be people of their word.”

When asked if he would stand should an election be called by Secretary of State James Brokenshire, Dr Kyle said: “It’s something I’m considering.”

The DUP did not respond.

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