UKIP rejects Haass in advance

MCNARRY, DAVID UKIP is the unique position of being a UK-wide party with a seat in the Assembly although the party has two different main messages at each level. The national focus on leaving the EU differs from David McNarry’s conference protest against the larger unionist parties and the Haass process. He is well aware that flags, parades and the past resonate more with local voters than the workings of Europe. Speaking at the Stormont Hotel, McNarry described UKIP as “a real unionist party” while the UUP and DUP were “tired and lazy” in government. John Larkin and Richard Haass came in for particular criticism, and McNarry is clearly preparing to oppose the predicted “bad deal for unionists”.

On the Haass issues, his demands were 365-day flag-flying on Belfast City Hall, agreement on the definition of a victim and allowing Orange parades to complete their routes. “Compromises can only mean unionist concessions,” the Strangford MLA concluded. “I will play no part in that betrayal.”

Despite his criticisms, McNarry offered no alternative social or economic policies except to “listen … carefully” to the public. The party’s sole councillor, Henry Reilly, will be standing as its European election candidate.

As agendaNi has previously reported, UKIP is an overwhelmingly English party; 94 per cent of its votes in 2009 came from England. The party gained just 4,152 votes in the last Assembly election and 2,550 in the council polls.

UKIP has abandoned any plans for an electoral pact with the TUV but, in policy terms, there is little difference between the two. The TUV was not mentioned by McNarry. The parties, though, appear to have two different support bases – North Antrim and County Down – which may limit the amount of competition between them on polling day.

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