I’m always interested in what the mostly GB based parties have to say about Northern Ireland when it comes to Westminster election time. I was rather ill today so instead of looking after myself I went through the manifestos one by one to find reference to Northern Ireland. Want to know what they say? Here you go:
The Conservatives do stand candidates in Northern Ireland however they very rarely make any headway in elections here.
“Our steadfast belief remains that Northern Ireland’s future is best served within a stronger United Kingdom. Our commitment to the 1998 Belfast Agreement and its successors, together with the institutions they establish, is undiminished. The next Conservative government will therefore work to re-establish a strong, stable and inclusive executive at the earliest opportunity.
We will uphold the essential principle that Northern Ireland’s future should only ever be determined by democracy and consent. A Conservative government will work closely with an incoming executive to strengthen the economy even further, to improve productivity, reduce public sector dependency and promote Northern Ireland as a location for inward investment. We remain committed to the devolution of Corporation Tax powers subject to the executive demonstrating fiscal stability.
As we leave the European Union we recognise Northern Ireland’s unique circumstances and will seek to ensure that Northern Ireland’s interests are protected.
While the number of terror attacks from dissident republican terrorists has fallen from forty in 2010 to four in 2016, the threat they pose remains severe and the need for vigilance paramount. We will continue to confront and combat those who use violence, threats and intimidation, providing the fullest possible support to the Police Service of Northern Ireland and other agencies in their work to keep the public safe and secure.
A Conservative government will continue to work for the full implementation of the 2014 Stormont House and 2015 Fresh Start Agreements. This includes new bodies for addressing the legacy of the past in fair, balanced and proportionate ways which do not unfairly focus on former members of the Armed Forces and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. The immense contribution of the security forces during the troubles should never be forgotten. We will reject any attempts to rewrite history which seek to justify or legitimise terrorism.”
Labour don’t stand candidates in Northern Ireland, instead supporting their sister party in the SDLP.
“The peace we have today in Northern Ireland is due to the courageous endeavours of those on all sides who have been brave enough to build it. The Good Friday Agreement, which Labour helped to negotiate, is one of the greatest achievements of Labour in office. We will continue to fully support the principles and structures inherent within the Good Friday Agreement and we remain committed to working with all sides to deliver real peace and greater prosperity to Northern Ireland.”
The Lib Dems don’t stand candidates in Northern Ireland, however their sister party in Northern Ireland, the Alliance Party, stands in all 18 constituencies. The Lib Dem manifesto reads:
“We will oppose any moves that threaten the political stability of Northern Ireland.”
“Liberal Democrats wish to see a permanently peaceful, stable, non-sectarian and truly democratic society in Northern Ireland. We will work constructively with the political parties in Northern Ireland and with the Irish government to secure the political stability of the Northern Ireland Assembly and other institutions of the Belfast agreement and the implementation of all the recommendations of the report on disbanding paramilitary groups. In particular we are determined to:
● Maintain the common travel area and freedom of movement.
● Support local businesses by ensuring participation within the single market and customs union.
● Ensure that the international human rights protections hard wired into the Good Friday Agreement are not compromised.
● Protect the rights of Northern Ireland citizens living and working in the EU, and EU citizens living and working in Northern Ireland.
● Protect the current financial settlement and the funding of programmes supporting peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
To grow the economy, tackle social exclusion, overcome inequality and deliver efficiencies in public services, Liberal Democrats will support policies and initiatives, such as integrated education, that promote sharing over separation and counter the cost of division.”
Plaid Cymryu are a Welsh nationalist party so no surprise that there is no mention of Northern Ireland in their manifesto bar one instance where they mention that Wales doesn’t have its own legal system like Scotland and Northern Ireland.
WEP’s manifesto is very sparse on any mention of Northern Ireland, primarily focusing on women’s issues and addressing gender inequality. It does say this:
“fully decriminalise abortion and protect the rights of women in Northern Ireland by offering them free reproductive health services in England, Scotland or Wales.”
The SNP manifesto, as a Scotland-only party, does not mention Northern Ireland once which isn’t exactly surprising.
Despite being a UK wide party, UKIP are not standing any candidates in Northern Ireland for the first time in a long time and their manifesto only mentions Northern Ireland by using it as an example of how England should have its own devolved parliament.
Much like UKIP, the Green Party is a UK-wide party but makes absolutely no mention of Northern Ireland in their election manifesto however they do not stand candidates here, preferring to support the local NI Green Party candidates.