The recent letter from David Campbell and David McNarry (‘Unionists should not support Sinn Fein-led bid to unseat Ian Paisley in North Antrim,’ Aug 17) saying that unionists are helping Sinn Fein as an opposition party if they sign the petition for a by-election uses an argument that would apply in almost every instance of a ‘recall’ in the UK.
As such it is a very weak argument, for it ignores the ethical issue of proper accountability to the electorate, and the healing effect that a by-election can bring.
Having transgressed parliamentary standards, voters have the opportunity to re-validate the mandate of the candidate if they so wish, and enable him to return to Westminster delivered from the effect of ongoing sniping, doubts and slurs.
There is good reason for say 10,000 committed DUP voters to sign the petition, and then all vote again for their former MP in the subsequent election if they are so minded. And good reason for all unionist voters to have their say on who they want as their representative. And good reason for everyone else as well to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice.
As a voter in the constituency, do I value the protections for our democratic system that parliamentarians themselves have put in place and have now been activated? Yes I do.
Do I want a SF MP returned to Westminster? Absolutely not.
Do I want my MP to be in a strong position to represent his constituents well on an ongoing basis? Absolutely yes, for that is essential if the common good is to be promoted and upheld in these troubled and troubling times.
(Rev) Norman Hamilton, Ballymena