The DUP has confirmed that Upper Bann MP David Simpson will defend his seat in May’s General Election.
Mr Simpson, who unseated the then Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble in 2005 and then retained the seat five years later, was formally re-selected by the DUP last night at an event in Banbridge.
DUP leader Peter Robinson and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster attended last night’s meeting in the town’s Old Town Hall.
The UUP is openly targeting Upper Bann and South Antrim as the two seats where it believes it could unseat a DUP incumbent.
In 2005, Mr Simpson had a 5,398-vote majority over Mr Trimble. But in 2010, when his opponent was the then UCUNF member Harry Hamilton, the DUP man’s lead fell to 3,361.
Mr Robinson said there is a “real possibility” the DUP could hold the balance of power at Westminster following the next General Election.
“Next May’s Westminster election is potentially the most important for Northern Ireland in a generation. That’s why it’s vital that we send the best team possible to Parliament.
“David Simpson is the right choice for the DUP and the right choice for Upper Bann,” the party leader said.
Mr Simpson said: “Northern Ireland’s influence could be absolutely crucial in the next parliament. This is not a time for a novice.”
He added: “As an elected representative for Upper Bann for over 10 years, when people vote for me they know my track record of delivery and understanding of the key issues in the area.
“I will be going to Westminster to get the best deal for Northern Ireland and Upper Bann.”