Lord Hay of Ballyore, election agent for Assembly candidate Gary Middleton, says his protégé is the future of unionism in Londonderry and warns opponents who accuse the DUP of scaremongering over vote splitters: this isn’t ‘Project Fear’ it’s a real and present danger.
Speaking to the Sentinel, Lord Hay, said: “For me it’s a real pleasure to be acting as election agent for Gary Middleton, the DUP candidate in the forthcoming Assembly election in Foyle.
“Gary is a young man with huge potential.
“In his short period representing this constituency at Stormont, he has represented the unionist community very, very well, and I see him continuing this for very many years to come. I believe he has a big future ahead representing the unionist people of Londonderry.”
Lord Hay addressed the implications of a three way split within unionism in the May election. He believes there’s a real danger unionism will lose it’s one and only seat in Foyle unless electors back, who he sees, as the only candidate for the job.
He points to the Forum election in 1996 when several unionist candidates came in under quota leaving the city’s loyal voters voiceless.
“My one message for this election is very, very clear and it is this: there is one unionist seat in this constituency and there are five nationalist seats. It is extremely important that we secure unionist representation at the Assembly on May 5,” he said.
“It’s a democratic process and other unionist parties and independents have every right to put their names forward on the ballot paper, however, they must realise that by doing so there’s a real risk that they will shred the unionist vote here in Foyle.
“If you look at the last election Gary Middleton received 4,573 votes, the UUP 1,226 and UKIP 832, 6,631 in total.
“If that’s shredded, you only have to look at what happened in the 1996 Forum elections, to see what could happen.
“It would be a sad day if this was repeated and that’s why I’m saying very clearly, that there’s only one candidate capable of taking a seat for unionism in Londonderry.
“And I’m asking people to vote for Gary Middleton, a young man with huge potential for many years to come.”