AS Unionism in Northern ireland continues to evolve in a post-Good Friday era, the figure of the Strangford MLA David McNarry has not been far from the headlines. Having moved on from his membership with the UUP, he is now looking forward to a new political lease of life with the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
UKIP, founded in 1993, claims to be the UK’s fourth biggest party and that in the EU Parliamentary Election in 2009 UKIP maintains it received more votes in Europe than Labour. The central aim of UKIP under the leadership of its charismatic leader Nigel Farange is to lever the UK from out the EU by challenging the EU’s key principles and operations and explaining this to the wider population.
Speaking in his Saintfield constituency office to Down News, Mr McNarry set out his political stall and said: “Joining UKIP was a relatively easy decision. A national party, going places and winning over thousands of new supporters across the UK impressed me. Above all, with 12 MEPs, it gives immediate expertise across the European Parliament which can assist me and my team in Northern Ireland.
“I will continue to proudly represent all of the people of Strangford as a hands-on MLA standing up for them on issues when they are the underdog. UKIP’s policies are the best vehicle to achieve this. UKIP are the party of the future and the best voting choice for the small businesses, farmers, fishermen and ordinary families of Strangford.”
In looking at some of the policy areas affecting Northern Ireland, he said: “We will cut business regulation and red tape, simplify taxation, and set up Production Enterprise Centres to help small and medium sized companies gain markets at home and abroad. We also will withdraw from the European Union and retain Britain’s seat at the World Trade Organisation so that the UK can pursue agricultural trade policies that are in the national interest.
“We will also ensure there is no sudden loss of Common Agricultural Policy farming subsidies such as Single Farm Payments. We aim to ease and eventually abolish the EU Nitrate Directive threshold. We will allow the formation of a greater number of producer co-operatives, putting food producers on a more equal footing with supermarket buyers. We will withdraw from the Common Fisheries policy and reassert our territorial rights, reclaim our fishing grounds, restore our fishing fleet and support our fishing industry for future generations.
“Our aim is to establish an ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ extending 200 nautical miles from the UK’s coastline over which the UK exerts total control and to abandon all EU quotas. We also plan to abolish VAT and replace it with a local sales tax designed to support local and regional government.”
“This is just a flavour of a few of the exciting policies UKIP are offering. We want Strangford and the whole UK to prosper and we will unashamedly put Strangford and the UK’s interests first.”
Mr McNarry works closely with UKIP Newry and Mourne Councillor Henry Riley and others across the Province. He is now wearing a more populist mantle than his older Unionist coat, and said he will be pressing ahead to gain much ground over the next few years in the Strangford constituency and further afield.