David Ford said: “I am very pleased to welcome Harry into the Alliance Party. He is a highly regarded and very popular representative in Upper Bann. In recent times we have attracted people who were previously involved in the SDLP and now Harry is joining us. This clearly demonstrates that Alliance is leading change and that more and more people from across the community believe in our goal of a truly shared future.
“It speaks volumes that Harry was the person who polled highest out of all of the Ulster Unionist Party candidates in the general election, and the fact that he has decided to come to us demonstrates the current momentum of the Alliance Party.
“Harry is someone who I believe can make a real difference and can have a very important role in delivering for people in the Upper Bann area. He believes Alliance is the party which best engages with the public on real life issues and this shows that people believe in positive politics instead of the politics of the past.”
Harry Hamilton said: “I believe that Alliance has shown it is prepared to engage with the growing section of our community who feel disillusioned and disappointed with the blinkered political parties that continue to distil political debate here into a tribal headcount.
“To be effective, political parties need to address the real issues that affect the lives of people in Northern Ireland, and I believe that only Alliance is doing this.
“I have joined a party, in Alliance, that looks at the problems facing Northern Ireland and asks ‘what are the solutions’ instead of looking for someone to blame.
“The forthcoming election must not be about contrived political pacts, or about who tops the poll. This election is about delivering for people – the ordinary working people trying to make ends meet who want responsible, honest and effective government that works for everyone.
“Northern Ireland needs people who set out a clear strategy on how to take the country forward to promote economic growth. Alliance does this very effectively and aims to provide joined-up thinking between business and government.
“It’s time for people to stop choosing their politicians on the basis of historical differences and start looking to the future. I believe that Alliance holds the key to better, shared future in Northern Ireland.
“Alliance reaches out to all sections of our community. It has shown itself able to listen and not preach, to lead and not simply follow, to deliver change and be unafraid of progress.
“I believe in the need for politicians to show leadership and the need to build a united community. These are the principles I entered politics to promote and I believe they can be best achieved through the Alliance Party.”