UKIP ranks on rise in Northern Ireland, says McNarry
UKIP MLA David McNarry has told the party's annual conference that membership is on the rise in Northern Ireland.
The conference also saw the shock defection of a second Tory MP — Mark Reckless — to the euro-sceptic party lead by Nigel Farage.
Speaking to delegates in Doncaster yesterday, Strangford MLA McNarry said: “He has me in Stormont, four councillors in local government now and from a standing start 25,000 votes in the European election which we never had before.
“Not one of the national parties have a mandate in Northern Ireland. We are growing every day, and we are the only truly national party.”
The ex-Ulster Unionist also branded the leaders of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties as “absentee landlords” and praised Nigel Farage for taking an interest in Northern Ireland.
“As far as Cameron, Miliband and Clegg are concerned not one of them have political| representation in Northern |Ireland,” he said.
“They don't even visit us, but Nigel does,” he added.
McNarry went on to condemn the three main national parties as being out of touch, saying: “Tepid Tories and lacklustre Liberal Democrats see governance as a form of over-loaded social engineering. They don't get it, they never have, they never will.”
Conservative MP Mark Reckless also used to the conference to announce his move to UKIP.
He told UKIP activists he had resigned as an MP to trigger a by-election in his constituency of Rochester and Strood.
His defection follows just weeks after fellow Tory MP Douglas Carswell joined UKIP and triggered a by-election in his seat of Clacton.
Reckless claimed the Conservative leadership was holding the country back and that voters felt ripped-off and lied to.
Meanwhile David Cameron was dealt another blow last night when Brooks Newmark said that he was quitting as Cabinet Office minister with responsibility for civil society.
The Conservative MP quit after reportedly sending explicit pictures of himself to an undercover newspaper reporter.
Belfast Telegraph Digital