Eight further candidates have today been endorsed to stand in constituencies in Northern Ireland under the joint Conservative and Unionist banner. They are:
- Antrim East – Rodney McCune
- Antrim North – Irwin Armstrong
- Belfast North – Fred Cobain
- Belfast South – Paula Bradshaw
- Down North – Ian Parsley
- Fermanagh and South Tyrone – Tom Elliott
- Foyle – David Harding
- Londonderry East – Lesley McAuley
Yesterday shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson and UUP leader Sir Reg Empey wrote this article in the Belfast News Letter emphasising the benefits to the people of Nothern Ireland of the electoral alliance between the Conservatives and UUP:
"By standing jointly as Conservatives and Unionists we will be the only party in Northern Ireland at the General Election offering people the chance to support and shape truly national politics. We will be giving people here the chance to vote for a party that can actually form the government of the United Kingdom... If the Conservatives win the election, Conservative and Unionist MPs from Northern Ireland will be able to play a full role in a Conservative Government. That includes being eligible to serve as ministers."
"To listen to some commentators or parties here, you would think that the idea of having normal politics is an affront. These people seem to have their own selfish strategic interests in maintaining Northern Ireland as a political backwater – either from the standpoint of a little Ulster mentality or because they want to portray Northern Ireland as a failed entity. We believe that Northern Ireland deserves better.
"Conservatives and Unionists will be backing a government committed to tackling our national debt, promoting economic growth, delivering social justice and strengthening society; we will improve our public services and maintain our security in an increasingly dangerous world. It is only the Conservatives and Unionists who are committed to ending the scandal of double-jobbing that scars politics in this part of the United Kingdom."
There is now just one outstanding selection in Northern Ireland, Antrim South.