Belfast Telegraph

David Ford: Alliance not feeling squeeze after eventful year

By Noel McAdam

Alliance leader David Ford has strongly denied his party could be squeezed in the forthcoming elections.

He also predicted that the proportion of Alliance councillors will increase, and the party will improve on past European performances.

And the Justice Minister said if his party holds the balance of power on an increased number of the new councils – as it presently does in Belfast – it could only be a "good thing".

Speaking at the launch of Alliance's European and local council manifestos, he said there was no evidence the Alliance vote was decreasing.

Asked if the events of the last year or so could result in his party being squeezed, Mr Ford said that was not his impression.

Alliance currently has 43 councillors, and with the new local authorities having fewer seats – down to 462 from the current 582 – projections have shown the same turnout as last time would give the party 34 seats.

But Mr Ford said he was confident the party will do "significantly better" than 34 and would have its best European election result with candidate Anna Lo.

"Whether it's in the new councils or in Europe, Alliance representatives will pursue our primary objective – an end to the politics of 'them and us'," he said

"We will be telling people that whether you vote, and how you vote, either makes change happen, or it makes things stay the same."

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