NI Conservatives’ chairman, Irwin Armstrong, has described Martin McGuinness’s suggestion that the NIO should be abolished as “completely ludicrous”.
“The idea that we should give up our seat at the top table of UK politics is frankly laughable”, Irwin commented. “It’s obvious that Mr McGuinness lives in a parallel universe, where the political priority is Republican pipe-dreams, rather than the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland”.
“Look at what the current Secretary of State has achieved, by representing Northern Ireland at the cabinet table. There’s been a very favourable settlement on the block grant, extra funding for the security services, the PMS debacle has been solved, the coastguard centre saved, long-haul Air Passenger Duty slashed and Belfast is to become a centre for super-fast internet.”
“Owen Paterson, in conjunction with NI Conservative colleagues, has spearheaded initiatives to grow the economy, including the possibility of devolving powers to cut Corporation Tax to the Assembly and providing funding for an Enterprise zone. Indeed the local business community recently voted the Secretary of State its ‘personality of the year’.”
“That overwhelming endorsement from the people who create jobs and prosperity in Northern Ireland demonstrates just how out of touch Martin McGuinness and his Sinn Féin colleagues really are. We need more input in the government at Westminster, rather than less, if we are to punch our weight economically and politically.”
“The way to achieve that is to vote for NI Conservative candidates at forthcoming elections. Owen Paterson has in many respects been the MP in government which Northern Ireland doesn’t have, but with local centre-right, pro-business colleagues beside him at Stormont and Westminster, even more can be achieved.”