DUP North Down contest not 'personality politics'
On Wednesday, April 8, the Belfast Telegraph front page exclusively broke the news that the DUP would be contesting the general election in North Down.
Contrary to the headline's tone - "Get Sylvia" - our decision to stand is not motivated by any personal dislike of Lady Hermon; rather, it's based on the mathematics of a hung parliament. The more seats the DUP has after this election, the more influence Northern Ireland will have with the next government.
We have an excellent relationship with Lady Hermon. Indeed, only last week we met with Sylvia and her election agent to discuss the North Down contest. It was a very friendly and positive meeting. Lady Hermon respected our decision to stand and, being the ultimate democrat, she even stated that the contest between the parties would boost turn-out.
This contest is not about personality; rather, it is about having a strong block of DUP MPs in the next parliament to ensure Northern Ireland gets the best deal. With margins so close between the big parties in Westminster, every seat will count.
More DUP seats means more influence for Northern Ireland.
Unlike the other Northern Ireland parties, the DUP has a plan for a hung parliament. Our five-point plan lists some 45 issues which we will be asking any potential government to address. No other Northern Ireland party will have the leverage to make such a case. They will either be too small, or else are already tied to one of the big Westminster parties.
We look forward to a fair and cordial campaign in North Down, where people make their decision based on getting the best deal for North Down, rather than petty personality politics.
With such an opportunity, it would be ridiculous to waste time bickering in such a manner.
PETER ROBINSON MLA, NIGEL DODDS and SAMMY WILSON
Democratic Unionist Party