The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Vice-Chairman, Neil Hamilton, says he was in Londonderry on the day Direct Rule was introduced on March 30, 1972.
The former Conservative Party right-winger made the claim during a recent visit to the city in support of local UKIP candidates, Dave Malcolm, Kyle Thompson and Geoff Cruickshank.
Mr Hamilton visited the Fountain Estate and the former Ebrington Barracks during his flying visit to the city.
He said: “Well, I’m delighted to be back in Londonderry for the first time in 42 years. The last time I was here was the day that Direct Rule was imposed in 1972 and Northern Ireland’s been through a lot of dark periods since.
“Now we can look forward to the future in confidence and UKIP is the new kid on the block in politics as a non-sectarian party, which comes with no historical baggage. It’s a way out of the problems of the past to a more prosperous future.”
Following Bloody Sunday and escalating Provisional IRA violence during what was the bloodiest year of the Troubles, Edward Heath’s Conservative Government passed the Northern Ireland (Temporary Provisions) Act 1972, which removed authority from Brian Faulkner’s Government and created the new office of Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
May 22 will be the first time UKIP has contested local elections in Londonderry.
Speaking to the Sentinel last month, Mr Hamilton said: “We are going to win the European elections on May 22 and I think that is going to be a great platform for us to fight the general election in 2015 and get our first MPs at Westminster.”