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Ukip's David McNarry may contest seat in West Belfast

By Noel McAdam

Published 23/11/2015

David McNarry
David McNarry

Ukip's Northern Ireland leader David McNarry has said he is considering standing in West Belfast at next year's Assembly election.

Mr McNarry announced at the weekend that he would not be contesting the Strangford seat he has represented for over 10 years.

However, he denied this meant the end of his time as an Assembly member.

One option being explored is whether Mr McNarry would stand as a single unionist candidate in West Belfast.

The constituency currently has five Sinn Fein MLAs and one from the SDLP:

"It has been identified as a serious contender for a single unionist candidate," Mr McNarry said. "If unionism was to be united there is the possibility of giving a seat back to the West Belfast unionist people."

Meanwhile, Mr McNarry has called for a victims' charter after the latest Stormont deal parked plans to tackle the legacy of the Troubles.

Addressing his party's regional conference at the weekend, the former Ulster Unionist said there was no excuse for leaving victims "out in the cold" as forgotten causalities of the past.

"How could any party conjure up an agreement titled 'A Fresh Start' without including victims?" he asked the gathering in Carrickfergus.

His attack came after the Victims' Forum warned it has "lost all trust and confidence in local politicians" as a result of last week's 'Fresh Start' agreement.

In a wide-ranging keynote speech, Mr McNarry also launched a no-holds-barred attack on the Fresh Start blueprint. "It is nothing but a deal for parties, not the people," he argued. "It's not a real deal - not even a half-baked deal.

"It's a 'hotchpotch' wish list putting us all into hock and leaving little to commend it."

But Mr McNarry said he had supported proposals for Westminster to take control of the implementation of welfare reform, which led to Treasury 'fines' from the province's Block Grant based on calculations of how much delaying the changes had cost.

Mr McNarry also hit out at his former party, the UUP, as "the lost tribe of unionism" and claimed that Ukip is now overtaking Jim Allister's TUV.

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