DUP says 'no connection' to new pro-union campaign group

The Twitter profile of the new campaign group 'Northern Ireland in Union'

THE DUP says it has "no political party connection" to a new unionist online campaign group that launched with an opinion piece from Arlene Foster.

'Northern Ireland in Union' appeared online last week, describing itself as a "non-party organisation which exists to promote the positive benefits of NI's membership of the UK".

On Wednesday just days after its launch, the group posted on its website an opinion piece from DUP leader Mrs Foster.

"DUP leader Rt Hon Arlene Foster MLA writes exclusively for Northern Ireland in Union," the newly formed group wrote to promote the post.

In the article, Mrs Foster wrote: "True unionism allows all of us to be who we are in stark contrast to narrow nationalism which is reductionist by its very nature.

"I am a unionist because I believe in the union from a cultural, historical, social and political point of view. It is best economically, of course, and it allows the religious freedom we all hold very dear."

The website does not say who is involved in the group, and no contact details are provided.

Northern Ireland in Union had posted just three messages on Twitter before tweeting a link to Mrs Foster's article.

The UUP and TUV yesterday said they are not involved in the new group, and so far had not been approached to contribute to its website.

Northern Ireland in Union appears to be modelled on Scotland in Union, which campaigns for Scotland to remain part of the UK.

However, Scotland in Union said it has "no knowledge of this organisation and there is no connection to Scotland in Union".

The first person to follow the new group on Twitter was DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson.

However, the DUP insisted it is not behind the new campaign group, saying: "There is no political party connection."

The party said it understood the group was made up of online bloggers, who would be asking a range of people from different backgrounds to contribute.

A DUP spokeswoman added: "They had asked Arlene to write a piece and they are going to be asking others to write a piece. It was just that Arlene Foster was the first one."

Northern Ireland in Union did not respond to questions when contacted yesterday.

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