In a BBC interview on Friday night, Conservative Party leader David Cameron described the level of public spending in parts of the UK as “unsustainable”.
Asked where the axe would fall, he replied: “The first one I think I would pick out is Northern Ireland.”
“In Northern Ireland, it’s quite clear — almost every party I think now accepts this — that the size of the state has got too big. We need a bigger private sector. This statement is a body blow to the prospects of the new UUP/Conservative alliance and will undoubtedly cost votes.
The DUP pounced on the statement with glee. Northern Ireland Finance Minister and DUP MLA Sammy Wilson said:
"The Tory secret is out. Conservative spending cuts will be targeted at Northern Ireland. So much for UUP influence on their new conservative friends.If a hung parliament arises in the wake of the general election results, Mr Cameron's faux pas could prove costly for the Tories.
A vote for the Cameron/Empey partnership is a vote for disproportionate economic pain in Northern Ireland.
Whilst we recognise the state of UK finances and the need for Northern Ireland to do its bit in the future, nevertheless David Cameron should not be unfairly targeting the Northern Ireland taxpayer.
One way to counter these Cameron/Empey cuts is to give an overwhelming mandate to the DUP candidates in the election. Our MPs will be free and unfettered to fight for the best deal for Northern Ireland in respect of health, schools, job creation and infrastructure development by using our votes in Parliament.
Unlike UUP MPs we will not be whipped to vote for Tory cuts. Only a strong DUP team will be able to stand up for Ulster.
Empey couldn't even get Cameron to change a few lines in a speech so there's no point expecting him to do much about the disproportionate