13 May 2019
Speaking at the launch of her campaign for the Europen Election, DUP candidate Diane Dodds said
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
This is a manifesto:
- To defend the Union
- To respect the referendum result
- To ensure the United Kingdom leaves the EU together
- To oppose the backstop
- And to elect a strong and experienced unionist voice for Northern Ireland
In June 2016, almost 350,000 people in Northern Ireland voted to leave the European Union as part of the UK wide vote.
Its time to deliver Brexit and respect democracy.
We must fight this election and secure a mandate which is heard loudly in Brussels and London.
The stakes could not be higher. The health of our democracy is on trial.
In 2016 people voted in good faith that their will would be implemented.
They must be able to have faith that the biggest democratic decision in our lifetime will be respected.
After almost three years of hopeless government negotiation and utter contempt and intransigence by Brussels, the referendum result still hasn't been implemented.
That simply isn't acceptable.
This election is an opportunity to send a message to London and Brussels that the vote to leave the EU must be respected.
It is an opportunity to “tell them again” that the will of the people will not be thwarted.
The DUP’s top priority throughout this process has been the integrity, security and prosperity of our United Kingdom.
The integrity of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland’s place in it is NOT a bargaining chip to be used by Dublin and Brussels in the negotiations.
No other Party has done more to defend the Union and deliver Brexit than the Democratic Unionist Party.
Our MPs have led the fight in London.
I am proud that at this critical time Northern Ireland and the DUP has not stood alone.
Support for our cause - the cause of the Union - has been drawn from across the parliamentary parties.
Through the DUP’s determination and this cross-party support we have defeated the damaging draft withdrawal agreement on three different occasions.
And we have been proactive in rejecting Sinn Fein’s efforts to use Brexit to sow division and force a divisive border poll.
But make no mistake about it. There is more work to be done.
That’s why on the 23rd May we are asking voters for their support to strengthen our hand to defend the Union and deliver Brexit.
To those who say ‘but Northern Ireland voted to remain’ – I remind them of the referendum question:
Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?
The 2016 referendum was not an English vote, a Scottish vote, a Welsh vote or a Northern Ireland vote.
It was a British vote - a national vote - to leave the EU together and it must be honoured.
To those Unionists who voted remain - you did not vote for Northern Ireland to be tied to the ‘backstop’ where Northern Ireland would be subject to EU Customs Union rules and parts of the Single Market indefinitely while the rest of the UK would be able to leave.
Undoubtedly over time, this would create trade barriers between Northern Ireland and our primary market, Great Britain.
Such an outcome would be bad for Northern Ireland and bad for the United Kingdom.
Dublin would have more influence over the rules we abide by because Northern Ireland would be trapped a halfway house with no right to representation yet subject to swathes of single market rules on agriculture and manufacturing.
It would leave us in the worst of both worlds and violate the principle of consent.
It is time to treat all borders and all markets fairly. A deal is achievable but the issue of the border cannot be solved by creating a new and far more economically damaging frontier in the Irish Sea.
That’s why during this European Election I am asking voters to strengthen our mandate - to reject the backstop and to rule out a border in the Irish Sea.
Together we can send a message to the Government and the EU that any trade barriers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland are unacceptable.
I recognise that people are getting frustrated with Brussels calling the shots.
We should have left the EU already.
But staying at home at this election is not the answer. Let’s not give our opponents a free hit.
Brussels isn’t afraid to use Northern Ireland as a pawn to make gains at the negotiating table.
So let’s not be afraid to stand up to their disrespect.
Finally, this manifesto sets out our priorities for a fresh and constructive future relationship with the EU in the areas that matter to local people.
Leaving the EU doesn't mean we are any less outward-looking or ambitious. The future is bright for cooperation with our neighbours in areas such as education, research, security and trade.
We are also calling on the EU to honour the citizen rights chapter of the current deal without preconditions.
We also make it clear that we will oppose the creation of an EU Army and reject the European Union having a seat on the United Nations Security Council.
With only ten days to go, we will be taking this manifesto to every part of Northern Ireland.
Not only do I stand on this manifesto but also on my record of delivery.
I have a track record of delivering for a range of sectors in Northern Ireland which is second to none.
I will be asking for the 350,000 people who voted leave to come back to the ballot box and vote Dodds 1 to send a message to London and Brussels.
Having voted with their first preference for the DUP. We also need to see the Unionist vote maximized so I will be encouraging people to use their further preferences to secure a second Unionist seat.
Next Thursday the labels of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ will be redundant. The battle will be between those who want democracy respected versus those who want to ignore the will of the people.
Whether you voted ‘leave’ or ‘remain’, if you want democracy to be respected then make their voice heard by voting Dodds 1.
With only ten days to go. Time is short.
We need to seize the moment and make sure our voice is heard far beyond these shores.
We need to ensure the people who believe in democracy and this United Kingdom get to the polls next Thursday.
To Defend the Union and Deliver Brexit vote Dodds 1.