Increasing numbers of political commentators and observers are recognising that a hung Parliament is a likely outcome of the forthcoming General Election.
This presents a strong opportunity for Northern Ireland in general (and unionism in particular).
If no one party can form a government under their own strength, then the influence of unionist MPs returned to the House of Commons will be increased. Policies would have to be ‘Northern Ireland-proofed’ to get the support of DUP members, for sure.
Unfortunately, some who aspire to positions of leadership for the unionist community have surrendered any notion of standing up for unionism, choosing instead to blindly obey the orders of the Tory whips at Westminster.
The Tories have said they want to initiate massive spending cuts of at least 10% across all government departments.
That means a minimum of 10% less to Northern Ireland’s schools, roads, and housing. Anyone taking the Tory whip will be obliged to vote for this slash-and-burn approach.
By contrast, in a hung Parliament situation, Northern Ireland MPs, with increased influence, will be able to use their votes against such massive cuts.
In this election people will have to choose between MPs who will stand up for Northern Ireland or Tory Manchurian candidates who will blindly do what they’re told by the Tory whips — regardless of the consequences for Northern |Ireland.
TREVOR CLARKE (DUP)
MLA for South Antrim