Personalities among the DUP’s top posts will change but the focus will not, Gregory Campbell has said.
The East Londonderry MP told the Mid-Ulster branch of the Democratic Unionist Association the DUP would not allow Northern Ireland to be dragged backwards,
Last week, Arlene Foster was confirmed as the replacement for party leader Peter Robinson who will stand down in January.
Mr Campbell said: “Those who accused us in the past of being rigidly negative are just as wrong as those who now accuse us of preparing to be too liberal.”
Mr Campbell added: “The media has been absorbed with personalities in recently weeks at a senior level within the DUP. Given the past 44 years of our party and the seamless nature of a very small number of senior positions, that is understandable. However, it is at a time like this when clarity has to be given so that there is no room for ambiguity regarding the party’s direction both now and in the future.
“The DUP was formed to ensure Northern Ireland’s survival in the face of the most bloody onslaught since our country’s inception. Violent republicanism and those engaged in that approach took a long time to realise they weren’t going to win, when that happened we had a responsibility to ensure that preparations were put in place to take the entire community forward into a future which would be better for everyone.
“Along this way there were misunderstandings about our approach, but our objective remained constant, delivering a Northern Ireland free from fear and terror whilst building a better future.”
He went on to say: “For as long as there are those who attempt to drag Northern Ireland back, we will be here to prevent them. For as long as there are those who try to revise their own bloody part in history, there will be a united DUP team here to stop that too. It is neither liberal nor rejectionist to do that while continuing to build a better future for all.”