Election Diary: Waiting list pledge may take more than Ukip said, admits Farage

David McNarry, Ukip's Northern Ireland leader
David McNarry, Ukip's Northern Ireland leader

Nigel Farage has said that it could take more than the £25 million claimed by local Ukip leader David McNarry to entirely eradicate hospital waiting lists for painful conditions.

The party’s manifesto states that “Ukip demand no more waiting lists for appointments to ease pain”..

When asked how much that would cost, earlier this month Ukip Northern Ireland leader David McNarry told Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show: “That cost would be £24-£25 million over two years.”

Health Minister Simon Hamilton recently announced £70million of extra money to pay for just 150,000 extra assessments, tests and procedures.

Writing in the Ukip NI manifesto, Mr Farage said: “Political party manifestos are usually filled with arbitrary, over-ambitious targets and pledges that will never be kept. Ukip is different...the establishment parties have repeatedly and knowingly raised the expectations of the public, only to let us down, time and time again.”

When asked yesterday if the claim was credible, Mr Farage told the News Letter: “It depends how many people you have, doesn’t it? It depends on the extent of open-door immigration.”

But when it was put to Mr Farage that aside from any future immigration there are already 400,000 people in Northern Ireland on a hospital waiting list, he said: “Well, it depends how efficiently you do it, doesn’t it? It depends how efficiently you do it. It may take a bit more. But it depends how efficiently you do it.”

When asked again about that figure, he demurred, saying: “I’m a national party leader. If you want to examine me on the minutiae of the Northern Ireland manifesto or the Dorset manifesto, I can’t answer all those questions.”

Mr Farage described Mr McNarry as “a very senior figure and a very sensible figure”.

SF man personally retrieves unwanted flyers

Sinn Fein has rejected suggestions that its members deliberately dumped election leaflets in a Protestant enclave in an attempt to intimidate residents.

Ian Milne’s leaflets were strewn along the side of a road at Upperlands on Sunday night. DUP candidate Ian McCrea described it as “the typical loutish behaviour of Sinn Fein supporters” and TUV candidate Hannah Loughrin said that given Mr Milne’s IRA past the incident was “an act of intimidation against the minority community of Mid Ulster”.

Mr Milne said: “Our canvassers have been involved in elections for many years and never before has an incident such as this occurred in Upperlands or anywhere else. I would question the motives of whoever was responsible for this littering as it is clearly not in the interests of Sinn Féin or myself as a candidate.

“This incident follows on from the recent theft of Sinn Féin posters which I have already reported to police. It would appear to be more of an anti Sinn Féin agenda...in my efforts to totally distance Sinn Féin from this action I, along with the election agent have personally gone to Upperlands and lifted all of the material that has been scattered along the road.”

McCartney signs TUV man’s papers

Former North Down MP Bob McCartney has signed the nomination papers of the TUV candidate in the constituency, John Brennan.

In 2009, the QC and former UK Unionist Party leader addressed the TUV conference.

Upcoming hustings

lLagan Valley: Vineyard Church (Altona Business Park), April 26, 7.30pm. (Organised by Evangelical Alliance/CARE).

lNorth Antrim: The Braid, April 27, Ballymena, 7.30pm (Organised by trade union Unite, focused on employment).

lSouth Belfast: Agape Centre (238 Lisburn Road), April 27, 7.30pm. (Organised by ‘Challenges’, chaired by William Crawley).

lNorth Down: Kings Church Bangor (Seacliff Road), April 28, 7pm.