General Election: TUV put trust at centre of campaign - as DUP warns of risk of Sinn Fein gains through 'vote shredding'

TUV leader Jim Allister with some of his candidates as he signs nomination papers for his general election bid for North Antrim.TUV leader Jim Allister with some of his candidates as he signs nomination papers for his general election bid for North Antrim.
TUV leader Jim Allister with some of his candidates as he signs nomination papers for his general election bid for North Antrim.
​Jim Allister says integrity and truth still matter in politics as he attempts to make trust a key issue in the general election campaign – as the DUP leader focuses on returning as many pro-Union MPs as possible.

​The TUV leader was speaking as he handed in his nomination papers for the North Antrim constituency – setting up the first head-to-head Westminster battle between himself and the DUP’s Ian Paisley in over a decade.

The party has been buoyed by the recent DUP U-turn on its Safeguarding the Union deal and the Irish Sea border, which vindicated some of the criticisms Mr Allister and others made earlier this year.

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However, Gavin Robinson is warning voters of “the impact of vote shredding” giving seats to Sinn Fein – a tactic the party has used successfully in previous election campaigns. He also says “no ideological purity” overrides representation in Westminster, in an apparent reference to the TUV’s position on the protocol.

Last week Mr Robinson said the party would seek to remove “the application of EU law in our country and the internal Irish Sea border it creates”. That would require a complete dismantling of the Windsor Framework, and many inside and outside the DUP will watch closely what approach the party develops to flesh out that policy.

Sammy Wilson later said that the party would back alternative ‘mutual enforcement’ arrangements – but that hasn’t yet been endorsed by the party centrally.

Jim Allister said voters across Northern Ireland “face a clear choice: endorsement of the dud Donaldson Deal through support for the DUP candidate, or reiteration of North Antrim’s strong stand against the Union-dismantling Protocol and its Irish Sea border”. He added “Integrity and truth still matter. On that basis, having been North Antrim’s strong voice in the Assembly, I now offer the same at Westminster.”

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However, Gavin Robinson said voters will not strengthen the Union if their vote “leads to further absentee MPs at Westminster”.

Speaking in Londonderry where he was supporting candidates nominating in East Londonderry, Foyle, West Tyrone and Mid Ulster he said “Having MPs who take their seats in the House of Commons matters, but so too does having Members of Parliament who will put their voice and their votes behind efforts to maintain and strengthen our United Kingdom”.

The East Belfast candidate said “We witnessed the impact of vote shredding at the least Assembly election”, adding “You will not strengthen the Union if your vote leads to pro-Union representation at Westminster being reduced”. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Alliance Party leader Naomi Long has said she is hopeful her party will make a number of gains in the General Election. She was speaking to the media alongside some of the party’s top General Election hopes – Lagan Valley candidate Sorcha Eastwood and South Belfast candidate Kate Nicholl – after submitting nomination papers at the Electoral Office in Belfast on Thursday.

The Ulster Unionist Party have signed nomination papers for most of their candidates so far, and are expected to run in almost all seats.

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