UUP Leader says unionism 'likely to take hit across the board' as SF make election gains

Ulster Unionist Party Leader Doug Beattie says unionism is likely to take a hit "across the board" in Northern Ireland's local government elections.

Summing up his party's performance so far, Mr Beattie said the UUP has had success in some areas, held its own in others, and is seeing "people who are under pressure".

He said the strong performance by Sinn Féin so far is something unionism must address.

"Unionism is likely to take a hit across the board in some shape or form while Sinn Féin grow," Mr Beattie told UTV.

"It's a question for us and what is going wrong, what are we doing? Is it negative messaging, is it pessimism - I don't know, but we're going to have to address this."

Doug Beattie also spoke of the need to get the unionist electorate to the polls.

He said: "The other thing we need to do is get those who are pro-union out to vote and if we can get them out to vote, we have to have to get them to vote for a pro-union political party."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.