Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

McNarry says he's on his 'way up' with UKIP

Following his resignation from the Ulster Unionist Party, self confessed 'professional politician' David McNarry has become the first Northern Ireland Assembly represenative to become a member of the Eurosceptic party - The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

The ex-UUP, and ex-independent MLA is the first elected member of any of the UK's devolved governments to join the party.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said that David McNarry "brings vast political experience" to the party with him.

Their meeting at Stormont last week (Friday, October 5) was the first time they had met.

Mr McNarry's induction into the party had been handled by Henry Reilly, another ex-UUP member who is a member of South Down council.

UKIP has around 200 members in Northern Ireland and considers David McNarry as a 'major boost' to its ranks.

He quit the UUP in January after a row over remarks he made in a Belfast Telegraph interview in favour of closer links with the DUP.

He had a dig at his former party after announcing the new move at Stormont, remarking: "I am not associated with anybody or anything that's in decline, and you best understand that. I'm on the way up."

Mr Farage said: "We extend a very warm welcome to David McNarry, a man of vast political experience.

"It shows that UKIP is now a fully national political party."

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Empey criticised his former colleague and raised a number of questions following his move to UKIP.

He said: "Many people will appreciate the irony of a man who was wedded to the notion of unionist unity and the establishment of a single unionist party between the Ulster Unionists and the DUP, introducing a fourth unionist party into the Assembly in the form of UKIP.

"That aside, many people in Strangford and further afield will be asking other serious questions.

"Local farmers receive almost -pound;270 million a year from the Common Agricultural Policy which accounts for over 50% of their income. I would imagine the farmers of the Ards Peninsula and Saintfield will have something to say about the loss of that. Many will be wondering if Mr McNarry will be heeding his new Party's last Assembly manifesto which said they would cut the salary and allowances of MLAs by 50%. Perhaps David will lead by example?" he added.

UKIP's manifesto states that it 'will end mandatory coalition' adding the 'failed parties in the Executive - the DUP, Sinn Fein, the UUP, the SDLP and the Alliance - may all be happy with this system.'

It goes on to state that 'Stormont is far too expensive... Northern Ireland has far too many full-time elected politicians - more than any other territory of similar size'.

The manifesto adds that 'the United States has just 100 Senators for 300 million people; it is therefore our long-term aspiration to reduce the number of MLAs in a manner acceptable to all communities.

'In the short term we will cut the salary and allowances of MLAs by 50%'.

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