Ulster Unionist councillor Richard Holmes has been highlighted the key issue facing the United Kingdom in this campaign.
“The Brexit negotiations have turned into BBC’s The Thick Of It’s most memorable phrase – an omnishambles! That is applicable to both the government’s mishandling of negotiations and for Northern Ireland, the DUP’s ineptness at using their supposedly pivotal role in a hung parliament to deliver a sensible deal for Northern Ireland.
“We now have the very real prospect of a border in the Irish Sea thanks to Foster’s two borders solution. The offer, made to Boris Johnson, required a Unionist veto in Stormont. But following 18 months of fawning over the darling of the Tory hard right, the DUP learned what many others suspected and warned – Johnson was not to be trusted.
“Johnson walked away with the DUP’s offer in his pocket and left the DUP shame faced, knowing they had been conned by a professional. But this is no loss of a wristwatch or life savings to a conman. This is a fundamental change to Northern Ireland’s cherished place in the United Kingdom. We now face the imposition of tariffs on 60% of goods entering Northern Ireland from the mainland.“Add to this the collapse of Stormont in January 2017 following another omnishambles – the RHI scheme – and the need for change is palpable. With no Stormont government in place, hospital emergency departments are in crisis, parents are being asked to supply pens and paper to local schools and former police and soldiers face being hunted down by a one-sided Historical Investigations Unit.
“The DUP have been tried for 10 years and found wanting. Unionists cannot tolerate a border in the Irish Sea and there needs to be real change in Unionist representation to ensure the DUP do not deliver the end of the Union we have fought to maintain for almost 100 years.”