David Cameron is obviously unable to be there in person, but he sent a video message in which he reaffirmed his commitment to the new political force which is bringing the two parties together to fight Westminster and European elections.
He was especially keen to highlight his desire to see MPs from all parts of the UK – not least Northern Ireland – playing a full role in the nation's politics and government:
Government at Westminster. I want to draw on the talents of people from
all parts of the United Kingdom. That's my selfish strategic interest. Northern Ireland can move on from focusing on constitutional battles, because the constitutional issue is settled."
He also talked about the forthcoming Euroepan election, for which UUP MEP Jim Nicholson will be the first candidate seeking election under the new banner:
Parliament and for him to take his place as part of the strong
Conservative team of MEPs. He will be part of the only group of
UK MEPs committed to co-operating in Europe rather than centralising
more power there; and to bringing some powers back to the UK where they
belong. Jim has my full backing as the joint candidate of the
Conservatives and Unionists at these elections, and I look forward to
campaigning with him next month."