This Saturday TUV members and supporters are set to converge on the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick for our annual conference, and the last of the autumn conferences.
We changed venues last year to accommodate the growing attendance we have seen year on year, and it is welcome (but a challenge) to have to change venue again so soon to ensure we can deliver the best conference experience to our attendees as numbers continue to grow.
What can you expect from #TUV2015 this year?
EU Referendum: The Case for Leaving
I am delighted that we have Kate Hoey MP joining us this year as our Key Note Speaker on the case for leaving the EU. An avowed Eurosceptic and co-Chair of the Labour Leave group, she will be playing a frontline role in the EU referendum in the UK. It also compliments the stance of TUV; we are firm believers that the UK will be better off out of the EU and that a united campaign is needed to get the core messages across.
It is worth highlighting that Jim Allister MLA and our new recruit Cllr Henry Reilly between them polled over 100,000 votes when they ran in the European Election in 2014. TUV has never been stronger on the European question than it is now.
Therefore, we are looking forward to Kate Hoey MP addressing the conference.
Northern Ireland Assembly Election 2016
The election schedule as it stands has Northern Ireland going to the polls in May 2016. This will be only the second Assembly election contested by TUV, and it is the one we have been building towards for the last 5 years.
TUV feel our stance has been vindicated: from the confirmed existence of an armed, active and Sinn Fein directing IRA Army Council; to the dysfunctional lurching from one crisis to the next Executive; and the coveting of power and money by those in charge of public money. The conditions are such that we believe our message is resonating – even with those who would not consider themselves by any means natural supporters.
Unlike 2011 TUV can go into this election with a record of achievement: with one MLA we got a Special Advisers Bill through barring those with serious criminal convictions from holding Special Adviser posts; we attempted to curb their salaries and link to Civil Service pay scales and discipline only to be voted down by DUP/Sinn Fein; we secured equal pension rights for RUC widows who remarried; and we exposed such waste at the heart of government to keep the newspapers in print for some time.
Path to Making Stormont Work
TUV have also been challenged to show what our alternative is to the current institutions we are so critical of. A challenge we must address and one which we have endeavoured to do. This Saturday I will have the opportunity to talk further on our policy initiative – A Path to Making Stormont Work.
Ultimately, TUV believe that there needs to be straight talking and less politicking by all parties.
TUV Conference is at Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick on Saturday 28th November 2015, public session 11am-4pm.
Richard is vice chairman of TUV; and an advisor to Jim Allister MLA.