UUP and Tory link move welcomed
LINKS between the Ulster Unionist party (UUP) and the Conservatives will allow Northern Ireland voters to escape the 'disenfranchisement' experienced in the recent Stormont 'stand-off' between the DUP and Sinn Fein, according to Londonderry's UUP Vice Chairman.
Speaking exclusively to the Sentinel, Terry Wright said the formalisation of a relationship between the UUP and the Tories will stop the 'political stagnation' experienced in the Province that resulted in 152 days without an Executive meeting.
"The experience of the last five months has clearly indicated that government in Northern Ireland totters continuously on the brink of dysfunction, break down and stand-off politics.
"This is not in the spirit of accountable, creative and responsible partnership or government aimed at addressing the daily needs of the people in the context of their social, educational, economic and health needs," he said.
Formal relations between the UUP and Conservatives cooled in the wake of the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, but Terry Wright believes the formation of a joint committee between both parties will offset any future isolation of Northern Irish voters.
"Both parties believe that all citizens of the UK should have an opportunity to vote for their national government and that voters in Northern Ireland have been isolated for too long from national politics and in addressing these issues agreed candidates for Europe and Westminster, and in the long term, possibly Stormont, will change politics here for the better by focusing on issues which will change politics by reaching out to an increasing number of alienated voters," he said.
The aims of the relationship according to the UUP Vice Chairman are clear and "have been overwhelmingly endorsed by the Executive of the party", and will "break the mould of the type of sectarian and communal politics which we have seen in the last five months which offers only sterile, stop-start and fear ridden government".
Mr Wright also told the Sentinel the link between the parties is wholly justified because of the hiatus at the Assembly in the last few months.
He said that bringing influence to bear in the sovereign parliament "answers a moral as well as a political imperative".
The relationship between both parties is to be formally cemented at the UUP Party Conference on December 6, when a leading Tory figure will attend.
"Some of us want to move on and address the real needs of the people and the aim of the new Joint Committee will be to develop policies with this focus.
"This province has to move beyond the name-calling antics of so-called statesmen and political leaders like Gerry Adams, who felt it necessary, clearly to please his own followers, to insult unionists by comparing them to supporters of apartheid in South Africa. Does he really see himself as a Nelson Mandela?" said Terry Wright.
The UUP man said that the first election when the new arrangement will fall into place will be next year's European poll when sitting UUP MEP Jim Nicholson will if elected, sit as a full member of the Conservative group and that he will receive the Conservative whip at Strasbourg.
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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