× Arlene Foster energised Sinn Fein voters
× DUP need to calm intemperate language
× Palmer will not be bowing to cowards
Danny Kinahan, Ulster Unionist MP for South Antrim, said:
“Nothing can disguise the fact that this was a bad election for unionism and it occurred on Arlene Foster`s watch. The rise in the Sinn Fein vote is directly attributable to Arlene Foster and some of her colleagues who energised an extra 57,000 nationalist voters. The Ulster Unionist Party is not responsible for one single additional republican vote last Thursday. Arlene Foster should take the advice of Ian Paisley MP and eat some humble pie.
“It is time for Unionism to reflect and take time to think about a positive way forward. There is no doubt in our minds that the Union is the best way forward for all the people of Northern Ireland and we should build on that.
“Arlene Foster and her colleagues should also calm their intemperate language. I am disgusted by the cowards who have attempted to intimidate Jenny Palmer and her family in Lagan Valley. They have been whipped into a frenzy by comments from leading members of the DUP.
“The comments made against Jenny and her husband on social media are beneath contempt and I unreservedly condemn them. I can assure John and Jenny of our full support. Edwin Poots and the DUP should be clear and unequivocal in their condemnation of such behaviour. It is not acceptable in a democratic society.”
Jenny Palmer said:
“Despite this act of intimidation, I have no intention of deserting the people of Lagan Valley. There is still much work to be done.
“In the days after the election result, my family and I have been subjected to abuse on social media. Instead of trying to blame me for the fact that they didn`t get three elected in Lagan Valley, the DUP need to look closer to home and at their own vote management, and how the behaviour of their party leader drove nationalist voters to Sinn Fein in their tens of thousands.
“I have endured bullying from so-called unionists in my previous party, so I certainly won`t be bowing down to cowards who don`t have the courage to express their views to my face, but prefer to hide behind the anonymity of social media. I have given a statement to the PSNI about this behaviour.
“It has boosted my resolve to remain in politics and campaign for tougher laws to bring these ‘internet trolls’ before the courts. I firmly believe the entire community would benefit from tougher protection against these cyber bullies.
“I will continue in frontline politics, assisting my husband, Councillor John Palmer, and my Ulster Unionist colleagues as we continue to work as a team to make life better for all the constituents of Lagan Valley. I would also like to thank all those who voted for me and have continued to send me messages of support, and congratulate Robbie Butler on his election.”