DUP Mid Ulster MLA Ian McCrea has given his full commitment to finding a unity candidate to fight the upcoming Westminster By-Election following the resignation of Martin McGuiness.
Speaking about the proposal of a unity candidate, Ian McCrea said: “I want to make my position on the upcoming by-election very clear; I am fully committed to finding and agreeing on a unity candidate to contest the Mid Ulster By-Election.
“There has been much press coverage on this issue around who should be standing and if I would see myself as a unity candidate and to be honest I haven’t given it much thought, more so due to the fact that when talking to local people they are speaking loud and clear that they want a single candidate.
“Whilst I welcome the UUP’s support for a unity candidate, I was shocked to read in articles in the Newsletter by Mr Nesbitt who stated that any unity candidate must display ‘Ulster Unionist’ values and his interpretation of those values are that the candidate should support the spirit of the Belfast Agreement.
“I don’t believe that this position shows the UUP’s commitment to a unity candidate given the fact that the majority of Unionists in Mid Ulster and across Northern Ireland rejected the Belfast Agreement in 1998 and have continued to do so at every election since therefore I want to make it clear that the person should display unionist values.
“It is important that we have a candidate that will galvanize the entire community and try to win this seat and give the people a voice at Westminster that they deserve.
“Long has Mid Ulster been left without a voice due to the pathetic stance taken by Sinn Fein not to attend Westminster, yet they adopted the hypocritical position of accepting all the expenses that come with the position. Every day I hear from the people on the ground that Mid Ulster needs a unity candidate and in this case this is something I am more than happy to agree with.”
“Whilst the election has not yet been announced, it is important that everyone checks if they are registered to vote and have the appropriate identification to ensure that our attempts to achieve a unity candidate to try and win this seat are not in vain,” he added.