Early Parliamentary General Election

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:23 pm on 19th April 2017.

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Photo of Danny Kinahan Danny Kinahan UUP, South Antrim 2:23 pm, 19th April 2017

I am pleased to be able to speak in this debate, Mr Speaker. As we all know, Northern Ireland is in a brittle state at the moment. We have no Executive and no Government, and I wonder whether the Prime Minister fully considered what may happen to us. Before the recess, I was given an excellent answer as to our position in the Union, and I was very grateful for it, but I want to get three points across now.

Although the first is not about this election, because we fully support today’s motion, I must say that the public in Northern Ireland are fed up to the back teeth with elections. They have had so many and they see no point in another Assembly election. Secondly, people who watched what was going on at Easter may have seen paramilitaries—I believe this was in west Belfast and somewhere else—marching and carrying the European Union flag as if it were their banner. Brexit for us is a very different and brittle world. Ulster Unionists fully support the need to find the right way forward, but this is going to be used by Sinn Féin to try to break up the Union and we need that support. So I ask that in their manifesto the Government look not only at how they deal with Northern Ireland’s special status, but at how they ensure we have a workable Government in the future. We need change, which is what the Ulster Unionists have been all about; we need to get back to the central parties running Northern Ireland.

My last point is about making sure that that manifesto looks after our armed forces and our ex-servicemen. Legacy is playing its way out and it is not protecting the people who should be protected for doing their duty. We will support today’s motion.