Jim Allister: Whether in court or Stormont TUV has led in opposing the protocol

In this election there are three key issues which voters can actually influence — the protocol which has partitioned our country, lack of leadership within unionism and the shambles of Stormont.

By Jim Allister
Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 3:35 am
Updated Friday, 29th April 2022, 8:51 am
There is a growing realisation that Stormont can never work so long as we force together parties which do not have to agree about anything before going into government
There is a growing realisation that Stormont can never work so long as we force together parties which do not have to agree about anything before going into government

On all three TUV offers voters certainty and clarity.

On the protocol TUV recognised the danger from day one.

When a joint letter was penned by Martin McGuinness and the then DUP leader just two months after the referendum pleading for special provisions for Northern Ireland it was TUV who called out the folly.

Jim Allister QC, MLA and leader of Traditional Unionist Voice

When Sir Jeffrey told Spotlight in March 2020 that “customs checks doesn’t [sic] mean that you change the constitutional status of a part of the United Kingdom, that’s not going to happen. Already we are seeing political parties and business leaders coming together to see how we may actually exploit the opportunities which may arise from this situation”, TUV saw the issues clearly.

When every other unionist voted, in December 2020, to accept 45 EU regulations, including the banning of British soil in Ulster, only Jim Wells and I opposed the move.

While a DUP agriculture minister was building the Poots’ Posts, TUV was clear that unionists should have no part in implementing their own destruction.

Legally too TUV has led the battle. I was one of the three original applicants in the judicial review of the protocol. Just this week we learned that the case will go to the Supreme Court.

Whether in the courts or in the Stormont chamber TUV has led in opposing the protocol.

In TUV you have the authentic voice of opposition to the border dividing our nation. A party which has put the issue of the protocol on the ballot paper — running as we are as TUV - No Sea Border.

TUV’s unequivocal stand on the protocol feeds into the second theme coming across on the doorsteps — the lack of leadership within unionism.

The ever shifting position of the DUP and UUP has left many looking for the strong leadership which is so badly needed to face down aggressive Irish republicanism.

The unionist electorate require a clear answer on whether unionism would nominate a deputy to Michelle O’Neill. TUV will not be Sinn Fein’s bridesmaid, will the DUP and UUP oblige?

Throughout my political career I have sought to offer strong and principled leadership and in 2022 I am surrounded by TUV candidates who have proven themselves in the real world and are up to the challenge of Stormont.

People like our East Belfast candidate, Parachute Regiment Falkland’s War veteran John Ross. East Londonderry TUV candidate Jordan Armstrong who served in Afghanistan. Lorna Smyth in Lagan Valley who served in the RAF in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq. Fermanagh and South Tyrone candidate Alex Elliott who received the Queen’s Police Medal for his service in the RUC.

UDR veteran Stephen Cooper who is carrying the standard for us in Strangford. A trade unionist in touch with the working people in Ron McDowell in North Belfast and successful businessmen like West Tyrone’s Trevor Clarke, our Newry and Armagh candidate Keith Ratcliffe. Our Foyle candidate, Elizabeth Neely, knows what the pressures faced by those on the frontline of our health service are like.

My North Antrim running mate, Matthew Armstrong, knows the challenges created by the protocol first hand due to his experience in the haulage industry. We have a successful farmer in Mel Lucas in South Antrim and candidates with experience in manufacturing and construction in our Mid Ulster candidate Glenn Moore and North Down’s John Gordon.

We are also running people with experience in public office. The serving deputy mayor of Mid and East Antrim. The only unionist candidate in South Down with experience of the Assembly in Harold Mckee.

Former MLA and retired bank manager Norman Boyd in East Antrim. And we are bringing on a new generation with young men like Upper Bann’s Darrin Foster and West Belfast’s Jordan Doran.

I often hear people say that they appreciate my stand and now they have the opportunity to strengthen my hand and to strengthen unionism’s hand, by voting TUV 1 on election day.

With a strong TUV team we can deliver on the other issue which comes up often on the doorstep – a shakeup of the Stormont shambles. There is a growing realisation that it can never be made to work so long as we insist on parties which do not have to agree about anything before going into government constantly being forced together.

We need a system which empowers you, the voter, to change your government at election time and gives you an opposition to hold the powers that be to account. So on Thursday week vote in strength and for strength not weakness. Vote 1 for your TUV – No Sea Border candidate before transferring to other pro-Union, anti-protocol candidates.

Jim Allister QC is leader of Traditional Unionist Voice and a Stormont candidate for North Antrim

Other essays from the unionist leaders: