Northern Ireland news

Loyalist group urges voters not to transfer outside unionism

David Campbell of the Loyalist Communities Council. Picture by Mal McCann

THE group which says it represent loyalist paramilitaries has urged people not to transfer votes to non-unionist candidates in Thursday's European election.

The Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), which emerged in 2015 as an umbrella group representing the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando, issued a statement yesterday asking people to vote only for unionist candidates as anything else “counted as a vote against the union”.

According to the News Letter, the statement was issued by David Campbell, a former chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party.

The statement asked “all loyalist and unionist voters to overcome their apathy and vote for all the unionist candidates" in Thursday’s poll, which is the closest run European election for more than a decade.

Mr Campbell said "apathy and low turn-out" in the local government elections earlier this month had "clearly helped the enemies of unionism".

"This should serve as a wake-up call to all unionist voters – irrespective of each individual’s view on Brexit the pan-nationalist front will be counting every non-unionist vote as a vote for a united Ireland. This must not be allowed to succeed," he said.

"Every loyalist and unionist is advised to vote for the first preference candidate of their choice, and then to transfer their other preferences to the other unionist candidates."

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