On Saturday afternoon, UKIP Northern Ireland held its AGM and Conference in Belfast. The theme of the event was UKIP for the Union.The keynote speaker was David Coburn, MEP for Scotland.
David Coburn MEP said: “It is more obvious now than it has ever been that the Conservatives can no longer be trusted when it comes to the Union. UKIP is now the only party committed to a complete withdrawal from the EU and single market as soon as possible. UKIP is also the one true party of the union with branches, elected representatives and activists in all corners of it.
“What happened last week was a disgrace. There should never have been any talk of hurdles being introduced that would separate Northern Ireland in any way from the rest of the UK. We joined the common market together as one United Kingdom, and we voted to leave the EU together as one United Kingdom.
“Mr. Varadkar and the Government of the Irish Republic should not have attempted to exploit our exit from the European Union for their own ends or to achieve the fantasy of a United Ireland. By joining the European Union in publicly interfering in internal UK matters; they acted contrary to U.N. Resolution 25/26-25 which states that “no state may encourage the use of economic, political or any other measures to coerce another state - in order to attain from it, the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights - and to secure from it advantages of any kind.”
“Last weeks events damaged British / Irish relations. Nevertheless, I believe that a workable, sensible free trade relationship should be able to continue with good will and common sense on all sides.”
Mr. Coburn continued: “There is nothing in the treaties about us paying £40 Million to leave the EU. In fact, we should not be paying one penny to leave the EU. The Government and its allies should be telling the EU that, not bowing to every demand.
“We, the British people could not have gotten a worse deal than what the Government has managed to bring back to us: 17.4 Million people, including 350,000 here voted to leave to take back control of laws, land and fishing waters. The so-called ‘negotiation process’ they’ve witnessed to date has been a complete and utter farce.”
“I now see as a direct result of that; a re-alignment of politics in the right in the UK. The Conservatives are no longer fit for purpose. They are no longer the party of the Union. They aren’t the party of decent, hard working people. They’re the party of big business and corporate interests.
“There is an opportunity for a libertarian, free market, pro union party of the people to stand up and fill that vacuum. This is UKIP’s opportunity. We’ve had some bad times as a party, but as I stand here in Belfast, I can see it with those in attendance today; this is a party that has a lot to offer here; offering a non-sectarian, UK wide alternative. The old parties locally and nationally are wedded to the system and they are part of the problem.
“This is a new era for UKIP under a new leader. There is a fresh opportunity for our party- (specifically with the proportional voting systems in our respective parts of the UK) and we will work together; Scotland and Northern Ireland and right across the nation - for the people. It’s clear that we are the true party of the United Kingdom and it is clear that locally and nationally; rather than being done; our journey has just begun.”