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Northern Ireland has many Conservative friends

I was amazed to read the lead story in The Belfast Telegraph, 'Ulster Facing Economic Disaster'.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as local Conservatives leaders are working with their colleagues in the UK on a White Paper that will set out a positive framework for the Northern Ireland economy over the next 10 years to allow the local Executive to take bold steps in turning it around.

The assertion that Northern Ireland has no friends in Westminster is completely erroneous as the Prime Minister is fully committed to Northern Ireland, visiting a number of times recently. Many of the current Cabinet have also been here in recent months.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland spent two to three days a week in Northern Ireland when he was in Opposition and has committed more time here than any other GB-based politician.

Does this really sound like a party that doesn't care about Northern Ireland?

The UK has overspent in the last 13 years and that cannot be sustained, Labour's cuts will have to be made.

We have, however, continually stated that Northern Ireland will not be treated any less favourably than any other part of the United Kingdom and that its current position will be taken into account in any decision process.

In addition, our party is showing its commitment to Northern Ireland by expanding rapidly locally and is opening a series of new associations and recruiting members.

Locally and nationally we are focused on creating a Northern Ireland that will become economically viable and provide prosperity for all.

Northern Ireland has many friends at Westminster.

IRWIN ARMSTRONG

Chairman, Conservatives Northern Ireland

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