Video: Alliance ‘would try to block EU referendum’

The Alliance Party has said that it will attempt to stop an in-out EU referendum if it has any MPs when the issue is expected to come before Parliament.

The pro-EU party made the commitment in its manifesto – which was launched in Belfast on Thursday – and insisted that it was not undemocratic, as the party would support a referendum if further powers are to be given to Brussels.

Some of the Alliance candidates with party leader David Ford at their manifesto launch

Some of the Alliance candidates with party leader David Ford at their manifesto launch

The 32-page document sets out commitments for everything from more generous annual increases for the state pension to better equipment for the armed forces.

Among its commitments are:

• Reform of Northern Ireland’s much-criticised libel laws and implementation of Lord Leveson’s statutory press regulation;

• Protections for civil liberties, including a “comprehensive review on protecting privacy and personal freedom from surveillance”;

• An international financial transactions tax;

• Increasing the tax-free allowance for income tax;

• A tax-dodging bill;

• Cut the deficit by using tax increases and spending cuts at a ratio of 1:2;

• Lift the ban on gay adoption and the lifetime ban on sexually active gay men donating blood.

Deputy leader Naomi Long – who is facing a fierce battle with the DUP to retain the East Belfast seat – said: “We are not going to Westminster to hold a gun to people’s heads and threaten chaos if we don’t get our way.

“Neither are we going to Westminster with a begging bowl constantly asking for more.”

When asked by the News Letter if she would rule out supporting a Conservative Government if she is re-elected, Mrs Long said that she had supported all parties at various points in the last Parliament and that she would work with whichever party could deliver the most of the Alliance manifesto.