Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland party leaders deliver 11th hour election messages

By David Young, PA

Political leaders in Northern Ireland have delivered eve of poll messages as the region prepares to vote in the General Election.

At the close of a low key campaign, run against the backdrop of the ongoing political crisis at Stormont, the main parties made a final pitch for support.

DUP leader and former First Minister Arlene Foster said every vote in every seat would matter.

She said: "A vote for the DUP is a vote for the Union. A vote for the DUP is a vote for real influence at Westminster and a vote for the DUP is a vote to secure the best deal for Northern Ireland as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

"Northern Ireland needs one strong unionist voice at Westminster and in the negotiations that follow. The DUP is that strong voice."

Sinn Fein's Stormont leader Michelle O'Neill said her party wanted to build on the gains it made in March's snap Assembly poll.

"Voters have the opportunity to take another step forward in building a new and united Ireland," she said.

"Together we can send a strong message to reject Theresa May's Tory cuts and Brexit agenda."

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said the election was the most significant for a generation.

"This is your opportunity to put your stamp on the future direction of the Union we cherish and the type of future you want for your children and grandchildren," he said.

Alliance leader Naomi Long said her party had a chance to make history and return two MPs - in south and east Belfast.

She said: "If people vote Alliance, they will get representatives who will help change the direction of our politics and who will absolutely deliver for the entire community."

Earlier in the week, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said: "The electoral math of the election is crystal clear. A vote for the DUP is a vote for Theresa May. A vote for Sinn Fein won't count at all."

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