David McNarry MLA

MCNARRY, DAVID Strangford MLA David McNarry is UKIP’s sole representative at Stormont. His political career began as a UUP councillor for Ards West (1995-2001) and he then worked as a special adviser to David Trimble as First Minister. David was elected to the Assembly in 2003 but was expelled from the UUP in May 2012 after a dispute over unionist unity. He joined UKIP in October 2012 and sits on the Regional Development Committee. He was a businessman in the tile trade before entering politics.

How did you become interested in politics?

I joined the Young Unionist Movement when I was 15 years old.

Back then, young unionism was very politically active and it gave me a real interest in political affairs and in the footslogging groundwork that went with it.

The debates were lively and I formed many lifelong friendships there.

Who were your main mentors?

My main mentor was former Ulster Unionist leader Harry West MP. Harry in many ways personified real and traditional unionist values. He was a man of great integrity whose word was his bond. His example instilled in me a strong sense of principle in politics and a strong sense of public service. Harry encouraged young people and genuinely valued their opinion and listened to their voice.

What do you count as your main achievements as an MLA?

In recent times, it was my work for unionist unity to confront and counteract the advances of Sinn Féin in politics. The rejection of both me and the hard work I had put into bringing this about by the current Ulster Unionist leadership was a great lost opportunity for Northern Ireland, especially in the centenary year of the Ulster Covenant of 1912.

In terms of the Assembly, my dogged one-and-a-half-year attack on the DUP Finance Minister for not admitting he had a “black hole” in his finances, which ended in him having to admit it, was a tour de force in terms of accountable democracy.

I am also proud of having introduced the Armed Forces Bill as a private member’s Bill into the Northern Ireland Assembly. While this was rejected by a pan-nationalist alliance of the SDLP and Sinn Féin voting together – a bad day for the Assembly in terms of a shared future. I note that this has now been taken up by other, mainland parties. I am still critical that all of our Stormont ministers except Michael McGimpsey, then in health, have failed to deliver equal treatment for our armed forces personnel.

I have also been a champion of carers, the unsung heroes of our community who have been treated disgracefully by the Government here, before and after devolution. I am a strong advocate of a better deal for carers in terms of support, respite care and retention of carer’s allowances after pension age. Government is cynically using the dedication of many family carers to escape paying for proper support levels for older carers.

david mcnarry finance personnel committee I also count bringing UKIP representation into the Northern Ireland Assembly as an achievement. UKIP is a truly national party and a patriotic party, so it is a party which unionists can easily identify with and support. It is a party which rejects the cosy club at Stormont and exposed their inactivity and their failure to deliver for the people. In many ways, it performs the role of an opposition at Stormont, which I believe is an urgent and necessary development.

How did your Euro-scepticism develop?

My Euro-scepticism developed on the back of the endless extension of petty, politically correct regulations in this country. We are over-governed and at least 75 per cent of that comes from Brussels, poking their nose into every aspect of life and undermining personal choice and freedom.

There is too much legislation, too much bureaucracy and too much government. I say: “Let freedom reign.”

What is your preferred relationship between Northern Ireland and Europe?

I would prefer the relationship of an associated trading partner.

I want to see the Common Fisheries Policy abandoned as a matter of urgency so that we can rebuild our fishing communities. All the other parties have let our fishermen down through their inactivity and complacency.

What are your main interests in your free time?

First of all, I don’t get much free time. I am really busy building UKIP and I am delighted that we have so much growing support among the new voters of the teenage and twenties age group.

I am an avid gardener and was privileged to serve as a judge on Sam Gardiner’s primary schools gardening competition. It was great to help impart a keenness for gardening to the primary school generation. I am a strong and lifelong supporter of Chelsea Football Club and follow the sport closely. Being a grandfather also is important to me.

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