Belfast Telegraph

Ukip faces probe after launching election campaign at Stormont

By Noel McAdam

UKIP is to be called to account after using Stormont to launch its general Eelection manifesto for Northern Ireland.

Assembly bosses said the party appeared to have breached the rules by launching the manifesto in Parliament Buildings.

Use of Parliament Buildings for election purposes is not allowed under the present rules and Assembly chief executive Trevor Rainey is to write to the party, which is likely to be reprimanded.

At yesterday's launch, the Belfast Telegraph quizzed Ukip's sole MLA David McNarry over whether he had permission for the event, and who it had been obtained from.

Mr McNarry said: "Of course we have permission. Do you think we are here illegally?"

Later, he added: "We booked the room for a media event. No one challenged us on the usage or asked for further information."

During the event the former Ulster Unionist MLA predicted a 'constitutional convention' involving Northern Ireland was likely to follow next month's election. It will result in a Secretary of State and Northern Ireland Office more "reliably unionist", the party's manifesto pledged.

"The present NIO does not work for Northern Ireland," Mr McNarry said. "And Ukip are going to change that.

"We will demand that the NIO act and perform its duties in a manner which defends and upholds NI's status within the UK - not neutral (and) negative on NI's constitutional position."

Mr McNarry insisted that Ukip could win at least one seat, but would not forecast its likely total vote in the 10 constituencies it is contesting. It was also made clear, however, this was a test run for the Assembly election next year.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph