By Rebecca Black, PA
A veteran victims' campaigner has accused new DUP leader Edwin Poots of leading his party “back to the 1970s”.
Raymond McCord said he feels Mr Poots is “destroying unionism”.
Mr Poots recently met with the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC), a group which puts across the views of loyalist paramilitaries the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando.
The LCC has recently spoken out of its concerns around the impact of the Brexit Protocol.
Mr McCord’s 22-year-old son, Raymond junior, was murdered by the Ulster Volunteer Force in Belfast in 1997.
“As someone from the unionist community, I believe after speaking to other working class unionists that Edwin Poots and his supporters are destroying unionism,” he said.
“They are bringing us back to the seventies. Ian Paisley Junior’s statement with Unionist Voice and meeting and reaching out to ‘loyalists’ will result in many unionist votes going to other parties.
“Unionism has never been in such a terrible position.
“I have sat back over the past 18 months due to health problems but now I’m back and will fight against paramilitary spokespersons, politicians and also with the likes of Poots and Paisley bringing us back to the dark days of our past.”
Mr McCord also claimed voters in the North will not be “taken in” by election slogans of “vote for the DUP and keep Sinn Féin out”.