The Ulster Unionist Party has nominated Omagh Councillor Chris Smyth as its candidate for the forthcoming West Tyrone Westminster by-election.
Councillor Smyth said:
“It is with mixed emotions that I accept this nomination. I am immensely proud of the faith my Party has put in me, but I am nonetheless disappointed that a lack of engagement from other parties has meant that a non-partisan, non-party, cross community candidate was not found, to demonstrate that the disrespect shown to victims of terrorism will not be tolerated.
“I was too young to remember the hope and optimism of the Belfast Agreement, but I know it was short lived. I firmly believe the political stalemate is destroying the country I love so much.
“The Ulster Unionist Party stands for a Unionism which embraces reconciliation, tolerance, partnership, respect and mutual trust and we offer an alternative to the perpetual brinksmanship, deadlock and inaction of the current two largest parties.
“It would be a huge honour to represent the area I was born and raised in. The people of West Tyrone both need and deserve to have a voice at Westminster and have been denied one for too long. If elected, I will be that voice.”
Ulster Unionist Party Leader Robin Swann MLA said:
“This by-election is taking place due to the complete disrespect shown to victims by the area’s previous Sinn Fein MP.
“I am confident that Councillor Chris Smyth is an excellent candidate who possesses all the attributes necessary to represent the people of West Tyrone at Westminster with the dignity and respect that has hitherto been sadly lacking, and I look forward to joining him on the doorsteps in his campaign.”