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Voters are ready for a change: Allister

By Noel McAdam

Jim Allister has proclaimed an "eagerness" in the unionist community to "shake things up" at Stormont.

The TUV leader is fighting to return to the European Parliament – where he was an MEP for the DUP – as well as running 50 candidates across the 11 new local councils.

But launching his manifesto yesterday, Mr Allister predicted the impact of increased backing for his party would be in the Assembly and could create new momentum for an opposition.

Mr Allister argued there was growing anger over the "constant and often secret stream of concessions" to Sinn Fein, most recently in the revelations over the administrative scheme for the so-called on-the-runs.

He claimed that "democracy is being trampled in the gutter" by the "corruption and skullduggery" of the peace process – with "more and more questioning of those who facilitated, went along with or turned a blind eye" to the mandatory coalition power-sharing in the Assembly.

Flanked by his party president, the former Ulster Unionist MP William Ross, he said his own performance and the results for his team would be a "barometer of discontent" but also an indication of the "demand for change".

Their manifesto warned the super councils replacing the present 26 "will see an orchestrated assault on our British flag and symbols" and accused the DUP of a "sordid deal" with Sinn Fein that led to the creation of the 11 authorities rather than 15.

"There is an eagerness among unionists to shake things up."

He rejected DUP leader Peter Robinson's claim that Mr Allister's vitriolic attacks on fellow unionists only served to confuse the unionist electorate.

On the European Parliament, he said: "As with most things, TUV has a clear view on the EU: we'd be better off out of it."

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