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Shaping future of the Union


Danny Kinahan is Ulster Unionist MP for South Antrim

Danny Kinahan is Ulster Unionist MP for South Antrim

Danny Kinahan is Ulster Unionist MP for South Antrim

Tomorrow at Westminster the Ulster Unionist parliamentary party is launching a parliamentary all-party group on the Union with the aim of establishing a constructive forum in which those of us who value and cherish the Union can discuss how best to preserve and maintain it as we face the challenges which lie ahead.

The intention is to create a group chaired by one or both of the main parties, with representation from parties from all parts of the United Kingdom.

It is also my intention that the all-party group would have the wherewithal to invite evidence from experts from a wide range of fields.

This could provide analysis on how best to face the many challenges and opportunities that confront the United Kingdom in the early 21st century.

This is an exciting time to be at Westminster.

There are a number of significant issues which require attention and decisions have to be taken, which will have long-term and far-reaching implications and consequences.

These include English Votes for English Laws, The Scotland Bill and the European Referendum, which are all well under way.

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We must also take account of the proposals to devolve powers to cities, or to large parts of England, such as the Northern Powerhouse.

All these will have an impact on the Union of today as we know and love it.

I firmly believe that the Union does not have to be in danger, and with the right minds and groups working together I am convinced that we can plan a way forward by putting in place an overall strategy which can accommodate the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom.

There is one Lords and Commons grouping looking at the need for a new Act of Union, suggesting a federal upper house and there is another parliamentary all-party group - driven mainly from the Lords - looking at reconstruction and devolution.

I see this new group as just one of many key groups that can play a role in helping us focus on what is truly one of the most important issues of our age.

Danny Kinahan is Ulster Unionist MP for South Antrim

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