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UUP leader Swann confident Danny Kinahan can retain seat

By Rebecca Black

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann says he believes his colleague Danny Kinahan can hold on to his South Antrim seat.

Mr Kinahan won the seat from DUP veteran William McCrea in one of the surprise seat swaps of the 2015 Westminster election.

The constituency is set to become a key unionist battlefield of the June 8 election, with the DUP planning to run its MLA Paul Girvan who topped the poll at the Assembly vote last year.

Speaking at Mr Kinahan's campaign launch at the Templeton Hotel in Templepatrick on Saturday, Mr Swann said it had taken hard work to win the seat and it will take hard work to hold on to it.

The 2015 poll was a significant election for the Ulster Unionist Party which gained its first two MPs since Lady Sylvia Hermon left the party in 2010.

Tom Elliott was elected in Fermanagh South Tyrone following the agreement of a unionist pact.

Mr Swann said his party's MPs have made a significant contribution since their election.

"I know that during his time as an MP Danny has consistently espoused a confident, outward looking pro-Union message in Parliament," he said.

"Since his election to the Commons in 2015 Danny has achieved an extraordinary amount both at Parliament and in South Antrim.

"From his role on the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee to co-chairing the All Party Parliamentary Group on Education he has thrown himself into business at Westminster. Danny set up the APPG on the Union and has been able to inform members from both sides of the aisle on the issues that matter to Northern Ireland, not least around Brexit and his recent work on the Hyde Park Case.

"I wish him and his team every success on the campaign trail and I hope we will be celebrating success once again come the ninth of June.

"But let us take nothing for granted. It took hard work and determination to win this seat and it will take hard work and determination to keep it, so I ask you all to vote Kinahan on the June 8."

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