Belfast Telegraph

Simon Hamilton: Those besmirching DUP clearly haven’t read our manifesto

By Simon Hamilton

When we were crafting the party's manifesto for last week's General Election it's safe to say that we never imagined that it would have received over 5.5 million hits inside six hours on election night.

When I signed it off to go to the printers a few days before its launch in Antrim, I would have thought that, at best, no one aside from a few journalists and policy wonks in Northern Ireland would pay it any attention.

Indeed, during the question and answer session that followed the launch, I think only one journalist's question even vaguely touched upon the actual contents of the manifesto.

Now, because of the record support afforded the DUP by the people of Northern Ireland and the realities of the new Parliament's arithmetic, it is being pored over to see what might constitute what has crudely been described as the party's 'shopping list'.

Much has been said about the Democratic Unionist Party over the last number of days by commentators on the mainland.

A lot of it has been totally inaccurate and a downright disgraceful attempt to besmirch the DUP. If they actually took the time to read our manifesto they would discover for themselves that the DUP is a party who unashamedly want the best for Northern Ireland but also have the nation's interest at heart.

They'd realise that whilst we are pro-business, we want to see everyone, everywhere benefit from economic growth.

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They'd understand that we are for strong public services but also don't shy away from the need to reform them.

And they'd see that while the party is pro-Brexit, we want the best deal for Northern Ireland and the whole of the UK as we leave the European Union together.

The way we have been caricatured is a far cry from the policy platform set out in our manifesto and, indeed, those which preceded it. It has been heartening though to hear many praising the contents of our manifesto and it is interesting that no one has attacked anything contained within it.

When we were writing it we maybe didn't realise how crucial a document it would become.

Because of the tremendous mandate that the people of Northern Ireland have given us, the DUP is in an unprecedented position.

The manifesto which has been downloaded so often it temporarily crashed our website will - as it always does - be what we will do our very best to deliver to the benefit of Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

  • Simon Hamilton is a DUP MLA for Strangford

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