Electing strong advocates on 8 June must be a priority – Armstrong

Alliance Strangford candidate Kellie Armstrong has stressed the importance of electing people who will go to Westminster to argue the case for Northern Ireland.

Kellie Armstrong said: “During his recent visit to Ireland we heard from the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, that there will have to be some form of border controls post Brexit. While the restoration of devolution to the Assembly will be a key factor in highlighting Northern Ireland’s unique position in Europe, having strong voices at Westminster are essential to protect our best interests during the Brexit negotiations.

“If we fail to restore devolution and are in political limbo for any period of time, or worse, go into direct rule, Brexit will be imposed upon us by politicians who have not been elected here. If I am elected as the MP for Strangford on 8 June, I will go to Westminster to forcefully put the case for Northern Ireland.

“Additionally, our civil service needs to ensure it has the resources and skills to implement whatever Brexit brings for our public services. We are already in the situation where the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Malcolm McKibbin, postponed his retirement because of the political situation, but has now indicated he will be leaving next month. As yet, a replacement has not been appointed, so there will be a leadership vacuum at a critical time. Only a properly functioning Executive can give direction to the civil service so appropriate preparations can be made for Brexit.

“Alliance is committed to avoiding a hard Brexit for the UK as a whole. We support a second referendum on the outcome of any negotiations, and achieving a special deal for Northern Ireland. Our case must be put locally and at Westminster by politicians who believe our special status has to be recognised.”

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