A Chat With Alliance Strangford Candidate Michelle Guy

Politics Feature: Alliance Strangford Candidate Michelle Guy Chats To Down News

The general election called by PM Rishi Sunak has thrown all the local parties in Northern Ireland into overdrive as candidates prepare for the Thursday 4th July Westminster election writes Jim Masson ©.

In the Strangford constituency, Alliance Party candidate Michelle Guy is challenging for the seat in Westminster held previously by Jim Shannon. and according to the Alliance election pundits, this is going to be the closest race in Strangford since 2001.

I caught up with Michelle Guy as she was canvassing in Crossgar this week and chatted to her about her life and how she has arrived at being a serious candidate for election, and why as a wife and mum of two children she chose a life in the fast lane of politics.

Michelle Guy said: “I actually come from Teconnaught and many people there would know me by my maiden name, Davey.

Michelle Guy, a councillor on Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough Council, centre, and the Alliance candidate in the Westminster election in the Strangford constituency, gets some canvassing support from her councillor colleagues Tierna Howie (Slieve Croob DEA) and Cadogan Enright (Downpatrick DEA) on Newry Mourne and Down District Council during a canvass in Crossgar. (Photos by Jim Masson /Down News ©).

“My daughter attends Irish dancing classes in Belfast so I know what it is to be a ‘dance mum’ bringing her to dancing and events. And for relaxation I enjoy walking in the Mournes when I can. Also, I’m a Man Utd supporter too!

“I went to the Holy Family Primary School in Annacloy and then the Assumption Grammar School where unsurprisingly I did an A-Level in politics!

“I joined the Alliance Party in 2015 due to frustration at our dysfunctional politics and I’ve got really involved since then.

“My ambition initially was to help as an activist, but I’ve been an elected representative now since 2019 and it’s a role I’ve thrived in.

“I went to Queen’s University achieved a law degree. I then moved into the field of marketing and communications and gained experience in private and public sector organisations, before moving into a policy role in one of the government departments. Since then, it’s been politics for me!

“I was impressed a lot with the contribution of the Women’s Coalition to politics, also a cross-community party. They were inclusive and spoke common sense, I guess this kind of politics has always appealed to me.

“When I joined Alliance initially. David Ford was the leader and I found him very supportive and then Naomi Long took over. She is an exceptional politician and has been a key politician and has been a key political force in local politics in recent years – Alliance, a cross-community party is now the third biggest party in NI.

Michelle Guy is an Alliance councillor on Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough Council and has served as Deputy Mayor and Deputy Group Leader for her party in Council, and was re-elected in 2019 when she topped the poll.

And to add to her rise up the political ladder, Michelle is also the chairperson of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland.

She added: “I have great experience as an elected councillor in the chamber and I work efffectively with council and agencies to deliver for the people I represent.

“I’ll built a reputation as a worker – this is the least voters should expect from their politicians. I’m grateful to benefit from the knowledge and experience of our wider Alliance team in Strangford including our MLA’s Kellie Armstrong and Nick Mathison. We all work well as a team together.”

Michelle Guy, centre, pictured with her Alliance canvassers in Crossgar.

“We are delighted with the feedback on the doors with many voters ready for change, they recognise that the Strangford Westminster seat is a two horse race – and a close one – between myself and Jim Shannon.

“Boundary changes make Strangford a very different constituency at this election – change is possible if voters come out and support the Alliance vision of delivering positive and progressive representation for Strangford in Westminster.”

Places such as Drumaness, Kilmore, Saul, Strangford village and most of the rural hinterland of Downpatrick are now in Strangford, not South Down.

“It is important these voters are aware that the race is between Alliance and DUP, not SDLP and Sinn Fein.

“If voters support me on the 4th of July and elect the first Alliance MP for this constituency it will represent a new era for everyone in Strangford.”

“Today we launched the Alliance Party’s ELECTION MANIFESTO at the Ivanhoe Hotel in South Belfast.

“It offers a very positive approach to the problems in Northern Ireland. Priorities such as health and social care, education, housing, jobs, business, community, childcare, and ensuring a fair financial settlement for Northern Ireland are all important front-line issues we will proactively continue to address in the Assembly … and at Westminster with a team of MPs.

Michelle Guy, pictured during a canvass in Crossgar which is now part of the Strangford constituency.

“But at a more local level, what I am hearing on the doorsteps is that people are really affected by the rising cost-of-living. Inflation may be down slightly, but costs are still up there.

“Other issues people have voiced are infrastructure concerns and a desire for more active travel, improved local sporting facilities and a sense of frustration that parts of this area are overlooked and neglected.

“If elected I want to offer a new dynamic voice for this area that will advocate with energy to bring visitors and investment.

“Alliance also has Andrew McMurray MLA running in South Down for a Westminster seat and we wish him well in his canvass across quite a wide area in that constituency.

“In recent elections there has been a surge in people voting for Alliance and that reflects the mood for change.”

Check out the Alliance Party at:



Strangford Constituency Round-up.

In the 2019 Westminster election, Jim Shannon (DUP) won well on 17705 votes but his vote was down 14.8% and the Alliance vote went up by 13.7% with 10,635 voting for Alliance’s Kellie Armstrong.

With an increase in more nationalist votes within the new southern border area of the Strangford constituency agreed by the Boundary Commission, and a number of apathetic voters previously just switching off but now mobilising to Alliance, the gap could close even further.

And if some of the SDLP, Green Party, Sinn Féin, UUP and Independent voters decided to also use their votes tactically, then the gap closes even further and we have a close cut contest. The difference between the DUP and Alliance was just 7070 votes in 2019.

There are 40 councillors in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area and while the DUP are the biggest party on 14, Alliance hold 12 seats. This testifies to the growth and popularity of the Alliance Party in recent local council elections.

But the real acid test will be the coming Westminster election on Thursday 4th July. How the marginal party voters actually vote will make all the difference if the gap at all closes.

Therefore, the canvass in the run up to the election on the doorsteps has never been more important for Alliance in a Strangford constituency election.

Can they continue their rise in politics and secure seats in Westminster ?

Their Alliance teams are looking quite up-beat at the feedback they are getting as they knock on the doors across a number of constituencies.

Will the DUP prevail in Strangford again? We’ll have to wait and see.

The Alliance Party members are doing their best to make sure this does not happen!


Michelle Guy is the Strangford Alliance Party Candidate. She is a councillor on Lisburn and Castlereagh Borogh Council and is the Chairperson of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland. She has extensive experience in working in the public and private sectors.