The widow of the late Ulster Unionist MP Clifford Forsythe has endorsed the UUP’s South Antrim candidate Danny Kinahan, saying that her husband “always wanted” the former soldier to be an MP.
Speaking about what could be the closest contest between the DUP and Ulster Unionists, Lilian Forsythe said: “I believe that Danny Kinahan is the right man to represent the people of South Antrim at Westminster. My late husband had always wanted Danny to stand as MP and I know he would have loved to have seen the Ulster Unionist Party back representing the good people of South Antrim.”
And, in comments which appear to be criticism of the DUP’s William McCrea for not living in the constituency and for having a second job, she went on: “Most importantly, I would like to see someone from South Antrim doing the job...in my view, it would be impossible to represent the people of South Antrim if your time and focus were not completely on your job as MP.”
DUP MLA for South Antrim Trevor Clarke said: “Mrs Forsythe never mentions the DUP nor William. We have an excellent record of delivery for the people of South Antrim. Whether its housing, infrastructure or jobs William McCrea and the DUP team have been champions for South Antrim.
“With numerous business interests, Danny Kinahan would have various demands on his time. Indeed, this is reflected in his Assembly voting record which is the worst in this mandate of any of the Unionist MLAs in South Antrim.”
Unionists oppose welfare reform
Three unionist candidates have set out opposition to welfare reforms.
Speaking at a South Belfast UPRG-organised hustings event, the UUP’s Rodney McCune said: “If I’m elected to Westminster I’ll be opposing welfare reform in the sense that I will wish to see the bedroom tax scrapped...and a number of the other provisions.”
Ukip’s Bob Stoker acknowledged the vast national debt but said “the repayments should be scheduled over at least 20 years – that way people can get back to normality”.
The DUP’s Jonathan Bell said that both Mr McCune and Mr Stoker had “campaigned for the pain you are experiencing” as they had supported the Conservative manifesto in 2010 but said his party had opposed the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.
Dogs in the street take the Long view
Searching for every last vote in East Belfast, Naomi Long has enlisted the services of a guide dog.
Chaz, whose partially sighted owner Elaine Orwin is an Alliance supporter, accompanied her and Mrs Long as they canvassed in Belmont on Tuesday. Mrs Long said that the blind or partially sighted had much to contribute to society and added: “Chaz might have won Alliance a few more votes as well.”
l East Londonderry: Causeway Coast Vineyard church, Coleraine, April 24, 7.30pm (Evangelical Alliance/CARE).
l Fermanagh and South Tyrone: Lough Erne Golf Resort, April 27, 7.45pm (focussed on the issue of fracking)
l North Antrim: High Kirk Presbyterian Church, Ballymena, April 28, 7.30pm (Evangelical Alliance/CARE).
l South Belfast: Windsor Baptist Church, April 30, 7.30pm (Evangelical Alliance/CARE).