UUP behaviour at count ‘was unacceptable’

PACEMAKER BELFAST  07/052015'David Simpson of the DUP is deemed elected in Upper Bann at the count in Banbridge, County Down, one of eight centres across Northern Ireland'Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
PACEMAKER BELFAST 07/052015'David Simpson of the DUP is deemed elected in Upper Bann at the count in Banbridge, County Down, one of eight centres across Northern Ireland'Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press

A war of words between Upper Bann MP David Simpson and Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt is rumbling on with Mr Simpson accusing UUP activists of inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Simpson has written to Mr Nesbitt highlighting the “low and despicable” nature of the UUP campaign.

He was responding to an open letter from Mr Nesbitt calling on the Upper Bann MP to provide evidence to back up his accusations about UUP involvement in online abuse of his family.

Mr Simpson said: “The behaviour of supporters of your party at the count centre in Banbridge on Thursday, 7th May, was very unprofessional to say the least.

“When I was speaking, people in the audience continued to shout and one even went as far as drawing their hand across their throat in a manner which suggested they wanted to slice one of my esteemed supporters throat. Such behaviour is totally unacceptable in a democratic society and I would have expected workers and supporters to behave in a professional rather than bully-boy fashion.”

Mr Simpson also criticised UUP general secretary Colin McCusker for comments made online. Mr Simpson claimed the comments had subsequently been removed.

He also spoke about the hurt caused to his children as a result of comments made online.

Mr Simpson said he would consider reporting incidents to the relevant authorities.

The Upper Bann MP said he would not be discussing the matter further in public.

“It is a matter for you and the Ulster Unionist Party as to whether you want to conduct your own investigation,” he stated.

“I do not intend to make further public comment on these matters and any associated material that we may supply you will certainly not be done in a public forum.

“I regret you felt motivated to publish your letter and that I learned of its content from the online media. Perhaps you might reflect on whether that was the most professional course of action.”

I trust you will understand that due to that decision it is appropriate that I publish this reply.”