Published Tuesday, 01 October 2013
The spat followed a breakfast between business leaders and politicians in an effort to put the focus on the Northern Ireland economy.
Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew accused the DUP leader of neglecting loyalist working class communities.
A claim rejected by MEP Diane Dodds.
Ms Gildernew said: "Peter Robinson obviously was away on holiday for a lot of the violence taking place.
"He failed to condemn it and he failed to show leadership in my opinion.
"Peter then sent a letter home [regarding the Maze redevelopment] and that didn't help matters."
Quick to respond was DUP MEP Diane Dodds, who said: "These are the type of facetious comments that are unnecessary and untrue.
"My party has been working in working class loyalist communities for many years.
"We are a grassroots unionist party and we will always continue to be a grassroots unionist party and that is where our base is."
Also during Tuesday's conference in Manchester the chair of the Conservative Party in Northern Ireland, Irwin Armstong, questioned the need for Richard Haass's involvement in the current round of talks to deal with the past, parades and flags.
However, Secretary of State Theresa Villiers said bringing the American in was a "sensible move" that would "add momentum" to the political process.
She said: "If successful, that success will come from leadership in Northern Ireland."
© UTV News