Kennedy “This is the time to vote for stability”

The Ulster Unionist candidate, Danny Kennedy launched his bid for the European Parliament today.

Speaking at the Stormont Hotel he outlined his pitch for the third seat;

Nearly three years since the European referendum took place it seems like we have made no progress at all.

The 29 March exit date is long past and we seem no closer to agreeing the terms of our departure than we did on the 27 June 2016.

Currently in British politics every day is groundhog day.

The negotiations have been very badly handled from the start and I know that, like me, many people are fed up and weary with the situation.

The uncertainty is demoralising for our people, for business and for politics.

During the most seismic events that the United Kingdom has faced since the Second World War our Government has been rudderless, failing to offer the leadership our people deserve during this time.

We must end the uncertainty for jobs and business, so that we can concentrate on creating a better future for everyone and help rebuild relationships with our closest neighbours.

A sensible Brexit;

We need a sensible Brexit.

That is what this election is about.

It is not about refighting the referendum.   The days of remainers and leavers came to an end once the people of the United Kingdom cast their vote in 2016.

This is about electing voices who will be there to make sure Northern Ireland does not get a raw deal.

The situation that we have presently arrived at is not where any of us wanted to be.

This issue did not need to become as vexed as it has done.

Too many have forced this to become all or nothing, all the pragmatism that has resolved many of our political difficulties in the past is long forgotten as chest beating took over.

The Border;

Firstly, we do not want or need any new borders.

There won`t be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland; and there can`t be a border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

This does not have to be a choice of either or.

I’m a border Unionist.  I’ve spent most of my life in South Armagh.

I understand the border, I know what happens and how it happens. I know how crucial it is to trade, to business and to our economy and I also know that we cannot return to a hard border.

But I have to say that I am disappointed that those who have been loud opponents to a hard border on the island fall silent when it comes to the prospect of a hard border in the Irish Sea.

Unionist concerns around the backstop are just as valid and are afforded equal protection under the Good Friday Agreement as those of our nationalist neighbours about a hard land border.

Need for stability;

Our proposals would develop positive economic and social relationships between the UK and Republic of Ireland.

If there is a sensible Brexit it would be a win, win for local businesses, the economy and community, don’t throw that away for petty selfish political reasons.

This is the time to put Northern Ireland first.

This is the time to end the uncertainty.

This is the time to vote for stability.