Conservatives and Unionists candidate for Newry and Armagh
The DUP's rejection of David Cameron's call to grow the private sector in Northern Ireland is a staggering rejection of previously stated DUP policy.
The DUP's confusion, however, does not stop there. On the issue of public spending the DUP leader has now explicitly contradicted his own manifesto, less than 1 week after its publication.
The opening paragraph of the DUP manifesto economy section states:
Growing the private sector is the key to economic success. It will be the private sector that will lead the UK into economic recovery. We need low interest rates and must reign back public spending and invest more wisely. Spending reductions must be pursued rather than seeking to increase taxes, though restricted spending cannot jeopardise recovery. A key priority of the next Government must be reducing debt. Public spending in recent decades, and particularly over the last two years in response to the recession, has caused the United Kingdom to be laden with exceptionally high levels of debt.
Yesterday, however, Peter Robinson totally refuted this stance and his previous statements on the size of the public sector in Northern Ireland. He said:
The public sector in Northern Ireland as a percentage of the population is of a similar size to elsewhere in the United Kingdom … We need more public funding.
The DUP must tell voters in Northern Ireland which position it actually stands for. Is it the "spending reductions" of their manifesto or the "more public funding" of yesterday's Peter Robinson statement?
First the DUP supported growing the private sector - now it appears to be against it. First the DUP called for spending restraint - now it wants more public money spent. When will the confusion and the flip-flops end