Former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble has written and complained to British prime minister Gordon Brown about remarks made by Northern Secretary Shaun Woodward in a newspaper interview.

Trimble accused Woodward of “effectively asking unionists to vote for the DUP,” after he criticized the UUP for making an electoral pact with the British Conservatives.

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper, Woodward said he was "neutral on the union" between Britain and Northern Ireland.

However, Trimble claimed that the Belfast agreement said the British government would support the position of Northern Ireland within the UK in accordance with the wishes of the local majority.

"I therefore must ask you is it the policy of the Labour Party to be neutral on the union and to encourage support for the DUP?” said Trimble.

“Do you, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, value the union with Northern Ireland?” he asked Brown.

Trimble said Woodward was wrong to imply that the pact between Conservative leader David Cameron and UUP leader Sir Reg Empey was "strengthening the hand of dissident republican terrorists."

Trimble asked Brown to "restrain" Woodward from making such comments.

“Perhaps you would encourage him to show some concern that for the first time in 88 years, the police are unavailable [to] protect voters in the environs of our polling stations during this election,” he said.

Trimble also accused Woodward and his party for cutting Northern Ireland's expenditure by $660 million.

“Is such an assault on frontline public services congruent with Labour Party policy?” asked Trimble.

 

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