Northern Ireland news

Those hoping for the demise of the TUV will be disappointed – Jim Allister

 TUV party leader Jim Allister during the party manifesto launch at the Dunadry Hotel, Antrim.
Rebecca Black, PA

Those hoping for the demise of the TUV in the Stormont Assembly election will be disappointed, the party’s leader has said.

Jim Allister has been the TUV’s sole MLA since 2011.

However the party is hoping to capitalise on opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol, running 19 candidates – one in each of 17 constituencies and two in North Antrim.

Additional checks on goods arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain are regarded by unionists as a border in the Irish Sea.

All the unionist parties oppose the protocol and are pressing the UK Government for action against it, with the DUP withdrawing First Minister Paul Givan from the Executive, effectively collapsing it, as part of their protest.

However, the TUV says it has been the “authentic voice of opposition to the protocol” since it was unveiled.

Speaking at his party’s manifesto launch in Co Antrim the morning after the latest rally against the protocol, Mr Allister described an “awakening in unionism”.

“There is more of an awakening within unionism than maybe there has been for some time, and I think the protocol has been a catalyst in that regard,” he said.

“I’m simply presenting every voter in Northern Ireland the opportunity to vote for TUV, the party that tells it as it is.

“I do urge people to vote for strength not weakness in this election and I believe in increasing numbers and more than you’ve ever seen before will do so.

“I’m looking to win as many constituencies as we can. I think there are many golden opportunities here, but ultimately it does come down to the electorate – the electorate have to make the choice.

 TUV party leader Jim Allister (centre) during the party manifesto launch with candidates for the upcoming Northern Ireland Assembly election at the Dunadry Hotel, Antrim.

“I believe some people will be disappointed who want to see the demise of the TUV and I believe I will have much to be thankful for come May 6.”

The TUV launched its manifesto for the Stormont Assembly election at the Dunadry Hotel in Co Antrim on Friday morning.

The manifesto emphasises the party’s opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol, but also calls for Stormont to be made to work for the people, suggesting the system be changed to a voluntary coalition.

It also opposes cultural legislation that would see the creation of an Irish Language Commission, calls for the prioritisation of the health service, demands action on the cost-of-living crisis, rejects the UK Government’s proposals for dealing with the past, and expresses concern around a “huge crisis of confidence in the PSNI in the unionist community”.

The TUV has only ever had one MLA at Stormont, with leader Mr Allister elected in the North Antrim constituency.

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