Ulster-born Labour MP Kate Hoey addressed the TUV conference on Saturday as a guest speaker arguing for the UK to leave the European Union.
The Vauxhall MP said she was “genuinely pleased” when invited to the conference, saying that she did not agree with Jim Allister on everything but had “great admiration” for him as a conviction politician who spoke out even when “in a great minority”.
Ms Hoey said that the terminology of the EU referendum debate was “deliberately confused” so that people say that Eurosceptics want to “leave Europe”.
She said: “Europe’s a continent. It’s very difficult to actually pull ourselves away from it. We want to see a free Europe ... I don’t love the EU; it’s an artificial, bureaucratic organisation bringing together not even all of the countries in Europe...”
She said that Europe is now the only continent in the world where the economy is shrinking and said that the UK needs to look to the far east, south America and the Commonwealth as trading partners.
She added: “Leaving the EU is not just a view of right-wing people ... on the left there is a really strong argument for leaving.”
Ms Hoey said that she believed the various anti-EU campaigns will ultimately come together and register as a single campaign.
After Ms Hoey’s speech, the TUV welcomed its new recruit from Ukip, South Down councillor Henry Reilly.
Mr Reilly, who was expelled from Ukip after a row with Northern Ireland leader David McNarry, accused Mr McNarry of being a “Europhile” after quoting a speech which he made prior to joining Ukip in which he argued for the creation of a “dedicated Stormont committee on European affairs”.