Belfast Telegraph

Robin Swann pledges to be 'champion for the union' as UUP leader

By David Young

Robin Swann is set to take helm of the Ulster Unionist Party following Mike Nesbitt's post-election resignation earlier this month.

Mr Swann, who was the only candidate when the deadline for nominations closed on Friday, will be formally ratified as leader at meeting od the party's ruling council in April.

He said he had support from across the Ulster Unionist Party for his leadership bid.

He told BBC NI's The Sunday News unionism needs "champions for the union".

"Unionism has a lot to offer but it's also making that union attractive to everybody in Northern Ireland so they know the benefits that are there and it's about promoting a positive unionism, a non-threatening unionism and a unionism that can move forward and be progressive".

"I got the support of the Assembly team, both our MPs, the chairman of our councillors' association, and the chairman of QUB Young Unionists, as well as party members.

"To get that level of support and endorsement within a party the size of the Ulster Unionist Party, with roughly 2,000 members, is humbling.

"And once my name started to get out there, people began to contact me to support my candidacy for the leadership."

"We have to be confident enough to sell the Union and the benefits of it, and look outside our areas of comfort. That's what I try to do and what I hope to do as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party.

"For talks to progress, we need a strong centre ground in Northern Ireland, and the Ulster Unionist Party must be part of that."

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