Jim Allister has said that there would be far-reaching “ramifications for Stormont” if he was to be returned as an MEP on May 22.
The TUV leader, who was a DUP MEP before leaving the party, lost his European seat in 2009 but stunned the political world with more than 66,000 first preference votes.
The North Antrim MLA yesterday launched manifestos for both Europe and local councils, where the party is fielding 50 candidates.
Speaking to journalists at the Ramada Hotel in south Belfast, Mr Allister said that the election was a chance to respond to “the constant pandering to Sinn Fein”.
He said that the peace process had long built into it a “constant, often secret, stream of concessions to Sinn Fein” and said that recent revelations about ‘letters of comfort’ to IRA fugitives had “vindicated” his party’s opposition to both the Belfast and St Andrews agreements.
The former MEP said that his party had “come to epitomise” the campaign for a Stormont opposition and said he detected an “eagerness to shake things up”.
Mr Allister, who has been accused by critics of being continually negative, presented his “positive record” as an MLA, citing the ban on killer ministerial advisers (Ann’s Law), his role in opposing the “Maze shrine” and his amendment to a Stormont bill which brought equality in pension rights for RUC widows.
Mr Allister, who in Henry Reilly faces an opponent of similar political outlook, stressed his implacable opposition to the EU, an institution which he said was beyond reform. He said that there was no more chance of him “going native” in Brussels than there was of him doing so in Stormont. Mr Allister said that if he was elected as an MEP he would relinquish his Stormont seat to another TUV member who would continue to be “a thorn in the side” of the Executive.
Mr Allister also rejected claims by DUP leader Peter Robinson that with so many pro-Union candidates the unionist vote could be “shredded”. Mr Allister said that votes would not be lost if every unionist voter transferred to other unionists and said that the TUV brought out voters who otherwise would stay at home.
l For a video of Mr Allister being interviewed by the News Letter, visit www.newsletter.co.uk