UK Independence Party to contest NI assembly poll

Image caption,
UKIP did not return any candidates to the House of Commons in the general election in May.

The UK Independence Party's deputy leader Paul Nuttall has confirmed that it intends to contest the NI Assembly elections next year.

Mr Nuttall said the party would fight at least four and as many as seven constituencies.

He said there had already been a fragmentation of unionism and UKIP intended to offer voters more choice.

He added: "We will be offering a non-sectarian, sensible, unionist alternative."

Speaking at Stormont, he said it was a "fantastic opportunity" for the party because of the proportional representation system in Northern Ireland.

He also expressed reservations about any European plan to bail out the Irish government and said that the UK would probably end up paying part of the cost.

The party currently holds 12 seats in the European parliament but none in the House of Commons.

It won 3.1% of the popular vote in the general election in May.

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