Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Paula says votes are not for sale in South Belfast

Paula Bradshaw,
Conservatives and Unionists candidate for South Belfast

I want to clarify that votes are not for sale in South Belfast.  I would emphasis this after the news of Jimmy Spratt's offer to trade his Assembly seat in return for the withdrawal from the Westminster campaign.

This is typical of the DUP who think that everything has a price. Contrary to Jimmy's policy I do not believe that constituents, or constituencies can be traded like a sliver of land.

For that reason I would never accept a seat to which I was not democratically elected. I am not prepared to deny voters their right to real representation. As far as I am concerned seats cannot be traded. Although when it comes to what the DUP really stands for the electorate have come to the realisation that it is not trust and integrity - particularly given the news reports and revelations over the last few months.

I am deeply disappointed that Mr Spratt has ignored the invitation to join my campaign. I have been canvassing for six weeks and the message on the doors has been clear. Unionist voters want a Unionist returned at this election. The only way we can ensure that this happens is by putting up a strong candidate who can attract votes from right across the pro-Union constituency and those who may never have voted unionist in the past. I believe I am that person.

Let us not forget what this is really about. The DUP may attempt to claim that this is about unionist unity. Who split unionism in the first place? If this is about the best thing for Unionism then why are the DUP refusing to back a candidate who can boost Northern Ireland's role within the UK? Is that not what Unionism is meant to be about? While the DUP share a platform with the SNP and Plaid, the Conservatives and Unionists are determined to see Northern Ireland at the heart of the Union - not allied to those who want to end it."

There is still time for one candidate to unite voters in South Belfast - therefore to Jimmy I would say - my door is always open.

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