Northern Ireland

Tom Elliott apologises for Sinn Fein 'scum' comments

UUP leader Tom Elliott has apologised to nationalists and republicans who were offended when he described Sinn Fein supporters as "scum".

Mr Elliott used the term in a speech at an election count on Saturday.

He has said he was provoked by republicans who were shouting and waving tricolours.

His remarks, along with his party's poor performance in the recent elections, have led to speculation that he will face a leadership challenge.

"I will certainly apologise to all those good nationalists, republicans, even Sinn Fein voters who felt offended by it," Mr Elliott told BBC Northern Ireland's Politics Show.

"It was certainly not directed at them so if they took offence at it, yes I regret that to them.

"For those people who do not regret the murders that they may have carried out in the past, I have to say that if they come to regret what they have done, then I think we could move forward much quicker."

In the interview, to be broadcast on Sunday, Mr Elliott said he had not thought of resigning, nor had any of his Assembly colleagues called upon him to do so.

He added that he was not aware of any leadership challenge.

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