Belfast Telegraph

Friday 21 November 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Labour offers us very little

Long-suffering members of the local Labour Party have launched YET another campaign to persuade Ed Miliband to stand candidates in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, it seems they will have no success.

The Labour Party has consistently treated people here like second-class citizens and shown little respect for its activists on this side of the Irish Sea, by refusing to get involved in elections.

NI Conservatives believe that centre-Right politics, focussed on creating jobs, standing up for hard-working people and protecting the vulnerable, is the right way to go for Northern Ireland.

However, we share with local Labour members a conviction that people here deserve a meaningful say in UK politics, which is focussed on issues and isn't simply "Orange, Green, or something in between".

Whereas David Cameron is absolutely committed to bringing Northern Ireland into the mainstream of UK politics, Ed Miliband has shown no interest in getting involved.

Labour prefers to have an arrangement with a party which is committed to breaking up the UK, in the SDLP, rather than supporting its own members.

As recent revelations have shown, under Tony Blair it was the party of murky deals and little seems to have changed. Labour talks about building "One Nation", but it doesn't believe that voters here deserve a say in it.

In May, NI Conservatives will be standing candidates for local elections and Mark Brotherston will contest the European parliamentary election.

All of our candidates will have the full backing of the national Conservative Party and the PM, David Cameron, who has talked about fostering Northern Irish influence "from the council chamber to the Cabinet table".

We believe that Labour has absolutely the wrong policies for Northern Ireland, but we would welcome the chance to have that debate openly, as part of the forthcoming election campaigns. But that's not going to happen.

For the foreseeable future, the Conservatives are the only mainstream UK party committed to moving politics here forward.

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