Alliance victories would cause political shockwave, Naomi Long says

Party leader Naomi Long (centre) and deputy leader Stephen Farry at the launch of the Alliance Party manifesto at CIYMS, Belfast, for the upcoming General Election
Party leader Naomi Long (centre) and deputy leader Stephen Farry at the launch of the Alliance Party manifesto at CIYMS, Belfast, for the upcoming General Election

A transformative political shockwave will reverberate around Northern Ireland if Alliance achieves its target of winning two Westminster seats, leader Naomi Long has said.

Launching her party's manifesto, Mrs Long said there was a "serious chance" of Alliance victories in south and east Belfast.

Alliance leader Naomi Long

Alliance leader Naomi Long

That result, she insisted, would not only make history for the cross-community party but would deliver a much-needed shake-up of the "same old, same old" politics of the past.

"In this election, Northern Ireland has an historic opportunity to change direction for the first time in history," said Mrs Long.

"Alliance have a serious chance of electing at least two Alliance MPs.

"Two MPs representing a radical alternative to our political system - two MPs who will argue against the failing and tired old divisive and tribal politics, and make a case for Northern Ireland that is free from sectarianism, is outward-looking and celebrates its diversity."

Alliance leader Naomi Long

Alliance leader Naomi Long

She added: "It would send a shockwave across Northern Ireland and further a field.

"The politics of this society would be changed forever. It would signal to the world that Northern Ireland wants to change direction."

The Alliance manifesto argues for a special deal for Northern Ireland in the Brexit process - one that would enable the region to maintain access to the customs unions and single market.

The party also wants a second EU referendum on the terms of the final deal which the UK strikes with the EU.

The manifesto also focuses on the need to reform the political system at Stormont; greater investment in integrated education; and efforts to protect the Human Rights Act.

"This manifesto is our programme to change the direction of our society," Mrs Long told party faithful in east Belfast, the seat she is personally striving to recapture.

"It is an approach to politics which is progressive, positive and pro-European, rather than allowing division and deadlock to rule the day."