Belfast Telegraph

Naomi Long condemns 'brutal campaign of smears and lies' as Alliance launch manifesto

Party Leader Naomi Long pictured at the Alliance party manifesto launch held at the Park Avenue Hotel in Belfast
Party Leader Naomi Long pictured at the Alliance party manifesto launch held at the Park Avenue Hotel in Belfast
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Alliance leader Naomi Long has hit out at the “smears, lies, disinformation and personal attacks” on general election candidates during what she called a “brutal” campaign. ​

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Ms Long was speaking in Belfast this morning as her party launched its General Election manifesto. ​

Commenting on the overall General Election campaign, she said: “In fighting elections for almost 20 years I can’t recall a single election which has been as brutal in terms of the campaign, in terms of the smears, the lies, the disinformation and the personal attacks that have been launched on candidates as I do in this particular campaign.​

“It bears no comparison to any previous election that I have fought and as some of you will remember I have fought some fairly bitter contests,” she added.  ​

The cross-community party is the only party to stand candidates in all of Northern Ireland’s 18 parliamentary constituencies. ​

Its manifesto contains key pledges including backing a People’s Vote, opposing a no deal Brexit and pressing for a restoration of devolution. ​

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Party Leader Naomi Long pictured at the Alliance party manifesto launch held at the Park Avenue Hotel in Belfast

It also calls for climate action, closing the public sector pay gap, an independent review of education, repealing the bedroom tax, integrating housing and an elected House of Lords. ​

Ms Long said her party wants to offer voters choice. ​She is challenging the DUP’s sitting MP Gavin Robinson for East Belfast.

“The issue of Brexit is bigger than the Alliance Party but looking at each constituency I don’t see better candidates than those being put forward by the Alliance Party and I say that not just out of pride in my colleagues but in terms of the manifesto on which they are standing and the values and vision which will drive them,” she said. ​

“That is why we will not be stepping aside in any constituency, the voters will make their decision as to who they want to represent them in Westminster. ​

“I believe that Alliance is best placed to do that on an inclusive basis, on a co-operative basis in a way that can bring people together. ​

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Party Leader Naomi Long pictured at the Alliance party manifesto launch held at the Park Avenue Hotel in Belfast

“That’s what we are offering people, if they reject it then like every party, we will understand that that is their choice.

"But we will not deny them that choice, we will not rob them of the opportunity to choose better. ​

“The public in terms of the feedback that we have received from people welcome the fact that they are getting that opportunity.”  ​

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