McGrath Says SDLP Will Deliver In Westminster

Colin McGrath says send a message to the Tories, send an MP who will take the seat in Westminster

Colin McGrath, the SDLP South Down MLA, is his party’s candidate in the Westminster election for South Down.

Down News caught up with him on the election campaign trail canvassing at the doors in his constituency.

Colin’s political life started when he was working as a youth worker in Downpatrick when he became an SDLP member.

He first served as a councillor in 2005 and he was Council chair on the legacy Down District Council and continued into the new super-council holding various committee offices in Newry Mourne and Down District Council after the amalgamation with Newry District Council.

Colin was elected to the Assembly in 2016 where he has served as the party’s health spokesperson and he understands first hand what the key issues are in the National Health Service and is keen to address these as a main issue if elected.

He is following in the footsteps of the late Eddie McGrady MP and also Margaret Ritchie MP who went on to become the SDLP party leader and lately took up a peership for the House of Lords to become Baroness Margaret Ritchie of Downpatrick assuming the Labour whip.

Canvassing to take his seat at Westminster: South Down MLA Colin McGrath calls on the voters of South Down in the Parliamentary election to return him as MP to the Commons as he will actively take the Westminster seat and attend parliament to fully represent all of the people of the constituency.

“It’s time to find our political voice once again after seven years of silence,” Colin added.

“”The SDLP has always represented its constituency well from Westminster and this is a vital reality as we try and move forward from the many serious issues we are currently faced with in health, education, farming, fishing, business, social issues, across the wider environment.

“We need to put people first again.

“If elected I will certainly attend Westminster and take my seat unlike Sinn Féin candidates who abstain.

“South Down needs proper representation now more than ever and I intend to deliver on that and press for fair funding for the Assembly.”

In the 2019 election, Colin McGrath’s then party colleague Councillor Michael Savage (who is now the CEO of the Newry Chamber) ran a strong campaign as the Westminster candidate for the SDLP and managed to close the gap to just 1620 on Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard which must have been encouraging for the SDLP.

Colin McGrath, third right, pictured canvassing in South Down with supporters: (l-r) Baroness Margaret Ritchie and party members Dominic O’Reilly, Jolene Cunningham, Cllr Conor Galbraith and Sean Oliver.

Colin McGrath said: “If you want real change I am the only candidate who can deliver on this in South Down.

“We have a new generation of voters who are looking for leadership from the SDLP and I intend to provide that. We are faced with a wide range of issues in the North and many of our key public services are crumbling fast such as health and social care.

“We need to protect all of our public services and that means fundamentally treating our workers with parity of esteem with the workers across in the UK.

“For example, nurses and junior doctors and other hospital staff have fallen behind while they do the same work as their colleagues in England.

“And many schools are in bad shape too and importantly we need a better deal for our special needs children who have suffered on account of Tory policies and short-changed funding for the Assembly.

“This is just not acceptable. We need to build trust and confidence in our public services once again and you cannot do that while NOT taking your seat at Westminster.

“Being an MP would create the opportunity to work closely with a new Labour government and get a better deal for our beleaguered services here.

“I am hearing on the doors during my canvass across South Down that people are fed up with the same old mantra from Sinn Féin.

“We too as a nationalist party also want a united Ireland and we are prepared to work to that end in partnership with everyone if that if what the people want.

“But we cannot achieve this when we live in a badly divided society and when sections of our society are excluded from this debate.

“Therefore we support the initiative of a new Ireland, but it has to be based on a shared vision, not one imposed by a political party that gets elected then does not take its seat at Westminster.

“It may take many years to arrive at a situation where the unification of Ireland is feasible and possible. It will take many steps in the long term.

“We have an enormous opportunity now for political stability and progress towards a cooperative discussion on how to sort out our issues with the incoming Labour Party in improving services here.

“But without proper representation South Down and taking the seat in Westminster, we will have more of the same.

“So let’s put the SDLP back on the map and end division and return me as your Westminster candidate to start on this long road to making life here in the North better for everyone instead of the DUP having the platform at Westminster as has been the case.

“We are at a pivotal moment in our politics here in the North and your vote can make a difference… vote SDLP and make the change happen.”