The Christmas holidays provide a good opportunity to reflect on the year past. To take pride in our successes and to take note of where we could have pushed ourselves that little bit further.The Ulster Unionist Party faced a big challenge in 2011. After the disappointment of the 2010 General election we didn’t have long before the Assembly and council elections were upon us. But after a hard fought campaign we returned with 16 MLAS and 99 councillors. In my Christmas message last year I said I was confident that I had chosen the best possible candidates and looking at my Assembly and Council groups we have very talented teams.
This period is also a good time to give thanks to all those who have helped and supported us throughout the year. So I would like to say thank you to all those members of the Ulster Unionist Party who have given me their support and loyalty over the past twelve months. After this year’s election campaign I would also like to give thanks to all those who provided encouragement and enthusiasm, who knocked thousands of doors and were passionate in promoting this great Party and all it has to offer, and to those who provided me with daily reminders of why I got involved in politics in the first place.
Finally, I would like make a pledge that in 2012 the Ulster Unionist Party will continue to work to make Northern Ireland a better place for everyone who lives here. Yes, we face many challenges, especially around our economy but our country needs everyone working together. Look at all of our achievements over the past year; we have had MTV rolling into town, major productions such as Game of Thrones being filmed locally and the well deserved successes of our golfing stars have firmly put us on the map. We have all worked hard to make Northern Ireland the place it is today and I hope that in the year ahead we can continue to make improvements and enjoy the benefits.I hope you all have a very happy Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous New Year.