The Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has stated that the General Election will provide an opportunity for better politics, but that doing the best for Northern Ireland means taking a long term approach.
Mr Nesbitt said:
“This General Election gives an opportunity to change mindsets and provide better politics for Northern Ireland.
“Being good citizens of the United Kingdom is a two way street. It`s not about going to Downing Street with a begging bowl or a list of demands. We want to do the best for the people of Northern Ireland - that shouldn`t be a short term approach, but rather a long term proposition.
“I think you have to go to Westminster with values and values are not an auction item which are available to the highest bidder. You have to take a long term view of the Union, which is still under threat. Scotland may have voted against independence in the referendum, but that was a battle, not the war. There are little Scotlanders out there, and there are little Englanders out there too. We don`t need little Northern Irelanders. We need to look at the bigger picture.
“Ulster Unionist MPs at Westminster will be looking to do the best for the people of Northern Ireland and there are issues for us - including the full implementation of the military covenant; and also including mental health because per head of population we probably have the worst record in the world. That impacts on legacy issues, it impacts on welfare dependency and it impacts on our ability to rebalance our economy. Address that and it`s a triple win.
“We will have many issues to discuss and address, but we will not just look at the short term gain picture - we will be looking long term at the best way to protect, promote and advance the Union. If you are going to be a responsible politician, you need to take a long term view.
“We have got very good relations with the Secretary of State and the Shadow Secretary of State. We don`t have any formal relationships with either of their two parties and we could work with either.”