DUP scaremongering is ‘wearing thin’, Jim Allister says

Traditional Unionist Voice leader criticises rival party during manifesto launch

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister has criticised the DUP during the launch of his party’s manifesto launch. File photograph:  Paul Faith/PA Wire

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister has criticised the DUP during the launch of his party’s manifesto launch. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

 

The DUP’s warning to unionists that a failure to vote for the party could result in Martin McGuinness taking the First Minister post is “wearing thin”, the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister has said, during the launch of his party’s manifesto in Belfast on Wednesday.

Mr Allister said that if Sinn Féin won the most seats in next month’s Northern Assembly elections and were therefore entitled to the First Minister post, then the DUP should not nominate its leader Arlene Foster for the Deputy First Minister post.

Mr Allister said in such a scenario he would “maximise the pressure on the DUP not to nominate a Deputy First Minister and to put them to the test of their own scaremongering as to whether they even believe it themselves”.

He said he “would not shed any tears” were the Executive and Assembly to fall in such circumstances.

However, he said that in this scenario he would seek to create a workable alternative through a voluntary coalition and opposition.

Mr Allister, who is the party’s single Assembly member, said the Northern Executive and Assembly were “dysfunctional” and “abysmal” and that there must be “surgical, root and branch” changes to make Stormont work.

“This system of government will never work no matter how many fresh starts it proclaims of itself because it defies the basic rules of gravity of democracy,” he said.

“The antidote to the failure of Stormont is TUV and therefore it is the TUV vote which will be the measure of dissatisfaction with the present failed arrangements.”

Blackmail

Mr Allister said the DUP was “seeking to blackmail the unionist electorate” into voting for it.

He said this argument was “wearing thin” because the DUP had created the conditions whereby Sinn Féin could be in a position to take the First Minister post through the 2006 St Andrews Agreement .

The TUV is standing 15 candidates in 14 constituencies in the election.

Mr Allister said success in the poll on May 5th would be the party increasing its representation.

The TUV manifesto states that Britain and Northern Ireland quitting the European Union following the Brexit referendum in June would be a “vital step to prosperity.

“We will either succumb to the ‘ever closer union’ which drives everything the EU does for the purpose of subduing national sovereignty or we will retake control of our own country, borders and destiny by wisely leaving the EU,” it states.