Nicholson has best voting record; Nolan turns down ‘unsolicited’ Farage

Election Diary 2014
Election Diary 2014

Nicholson has best voting record: report

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson had the best voting record of Northern Ireland’s three MEPs, according to an independent report., a website which collates and analyses data on MEPs’ performances, said that Mr Nicholson, who was elected as a Conservative and Unionist candidate in 2009, had been present for 87.8 per cent of plenary votes.

Sinn Fein — which was represented by Bairbre de Brun before she was replaced by Martina Anderson — took part in 82.98 per cent of votes.

The DUP’s Diane Dodds took part in just 76.14 per cent of plenary votes.

Last month Mrs Dodds claimed that she had an “unrivalled” record as a public representative, arguing that she had done better than either Mr Nicholson, Mrs Anderson or either of her DUP predecessors, Ian Paisley and Jim Allister.

The report stressed that it “shows only factual information based on the votes cast in the European Parliament plenary, and does not seek to express views on the reasons behind the MEPs’ performances”.

Nolan turns down ‘unsolicited’ Farage

UKIP’s Northern Ireland leader, David McNarry, has said that his party’s supporters could be excused for thinking that the BBC is guilty of “an outrageous act of discrimination” for not allowing UKIP leader Nigel Farage on Stephen Nolan’s TV show.

Mr Farage, who will visit Northern Ireland today to campaign, will not be able to take part in the programme tonight because of BBC election rules which aim to provide fair coverage for each of the main parties contesting the European and council elections.

Mr McNarry said he had expected that the BBC “would extend its fixation with UKIPs Nigel Farage” to the Nolan Show.

Mr McNarry, who last week clashed with the corporation over a comment made by Anna Lo on BBC Radio Ulster, said: “If David Cameron was to visit would he be barred?”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “Unsolicited, a UKIP representative offered an interview with Nigel Farage to The Nolan Show but, in an election period, we declined the offer on this occasion.

“Our coverage of the European Parliament Election is consistent with the BBC’s published guidelines.”

Sinn Fein now desperate on border: Dodds

Sinn Fein’s manifesto commitment to pushing the EU to support a border poll shows the party’s failure to make progress towards a united Ireland, Diane Dodds has said.

The DUP MEP said that Northern Ireland’s constitutional future had “absolutely nothing to do with the EU”.

Mrs Dodds said: “Last year Sinn Fein’s high profile campaign on a border poll fell apart at the seams after only basic examination. My colleague Arlene Foster also highlighted Sinn Fein’s economic illiteracy and the campaign was quietly sidelined.

“It is testament to Sinn Fein’s abject failure to make any real progress towards their key goal of a united Ireland that they are now relegated to seeking EU support for a campaign which has fallen apart once already.”