Speaking during the live election coverage, the Lagan Valley representative said: "We are already having discussions with the UUP on an ongoing basis with reference to the general election next year."And we are more than willing to talk to [other unionist parties]."He added: "If you look at the first preference vote in Northern Ireland at the moment, DUP is just in behind Sinn Féin."And that's because of the splintering of the unionist vote and that becomes more critical when you get to an Assembly election."So we do need to be talking to each other and we need to be looking at where unionism is going."UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, however, said there were no discussions in place and that the DUP was attempting to "deflect people's attention away from a bad election for them".He urged Ian Paisley Junior to "name the names" of those in the UUP the DUP was talking to.Mr Paisley said it would be "unfair" to those to disclose their identity.