Tag Archives: William McCrea

McClarty joins growing Unionist voice for YES!

27 Apr

Londonderry East's David McClarty says YES!

Watching tonight’s UTV debate on the Alternative Vote referendum you would think that all the unionists in Northern Ireland were saying no. That is not the case as member of the both the main unionist parties are supporting the Yes! campaign.

But it is those outside the party machines who are standing up for fairness to the voters, something that is contrary to the no campaign’s claim that smaller parties and independents don’t support a move to the Alternative Vote. One of the first major unionist voices to back the Yes! campaign was Dawn Purvis who attended both our campaign launch and banner unfurling.

One of the other independent unionists from the last Assembly, East Londonderry‘s David McClarty has also added his voice to the campaign for a yes vote next Thursday. David was one of the moderates who left the Ulster Unionist party as it took a more hardline stance after the last general election, an election in which they attempted to tie themselves to the Conservative party for political gain.

David is on of the growing number of politicians in Northern Ireland who has realised that the people want fairness. When one five* in six of our MPs last May were elected with less than 50% support many voices were not heard. When the two main unionist parties attempted to stitch up a couple of seats by standing just one candidate against nationalist incumbents they showed contempt for the voters. It is something that they continue to do by saying no to the Alternative Vote.

Not one of the DUP’s MPs secured over 50% of the vote last year, indeed the three MPs with the smallest mandate were all in the DUP. For each vote David Simpson, William McCrea or Gregory Campbell received there were 2 votes against. This shows that the current system is only fair to the politicians allowing them to get elected with as little as one-third of the vote.

The Alternative Vote means that the winning candidate has to get over 50% of all the valid votes. That is a winning post that the politicians and parties cannot so easily control, that decision about who gets there lies in the preferences of individual voters. Elections will become more competitive as the candidates will have to reach out widely to gain that level of support.

Vote Yes! on the 5th May to have your say in who becomes your MP, to have your voice heard.

Remember that to vote in Northern Ireland you need to take your ID with out on polling day between 7am and 10pm.

  • A UK, Irish or EEA driving licence (photographic part)
  • A UK, Irish or EU passport
  • An electoral identity card
  • A Translink Senior SmartPass
  • A Translink 60+ SmartPass
  • A Translink War Disabled SmartPass
  • A Translink Blind Person’s SmartPass

* correction thanks to Joe Smith’s comment – nobody’s perfect.–Ed.


Queen’s students say Yes! to Fairer Votes

3 Feb

Former QUBSU VP Community Laura Hawthorne saying Yes! to Fairer Votes outside Queen's University, Belfast.

At the Refreshers Bazaar in the Students’ Union at QUB yesterday, many students said ‘Yes!’ to Fairer Votes as Northern Ireland gears up for the most important constitutional change in recent history. Not since the nineteenth century has there been such an opportunity to change how MPs are elected to Parliament. Headlines in the last year have included

Expenses Scandal MPs to appear in Court

and in Northern Ireland

Robinson defends £30,000 food claims

Students are becoming much more interested in politics with the cuts being brought in by the Government in Westminster. Many are concerned that MPs do not represent them at all but are only interested in representing their own interests.

Support from students

Support was gained from many of the student political parties present at the bazaar including the SDLP youth, Socialist Party, Alliance Youth, Labour in NI, and the NI Liberal Democrats as well as the Queen’s Politics Society and from many individual students.

SDLP representative for South Belfast, Conall McDevitt MLA also called at our stand and reaffirmed his pledge to campaign with us as we work towards May 5th.

Recent Queen’s graduate and former student union vice president (community), Laura Hawthorne, explained why it is so vital that Northern Ireland says Yes! on 5th May:

So many issues are decided at Westminster which impact on students and recent graduates here in Northern Ireland. With the Assembly seemingly intent on maintaining the parity on benefits and student fees, we must have a better say in who our MPs are at the next election.

Fairer Votes Belfast coordinator, Michael Carchrie Campbell said:

This year, William McCrea got in with 33.9% of the total vote¹ in his constituency. That is not fair. 66.1% of people did not vote for him – yet that’s who the people of South Antrim got to represent them in the House of Commons.

If you want to make politics fairer – to make the MPs work harder for you at Westminster, please sign up at Yes! to Fairer Votes.

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1. election data from NI Elections