Rankin backs Hale as Lagan Valley race starts

A vote for the DUP’s Brenda Hale in the upcoming assembly elections is a vote for Arlene Foster as First Minister, according to local councillor, Alderman Paul Rankin.

Mr Rankin spoke out as the DUP’s Lagan Valley candidates handed in their nomination papers in Banbridge last week, so signalling the beginning of their election campaign in earnest.

Mrs Hale is one of four DUP incumbents seeking re-election in next month’s poll.

Her running mates are Edwin Poots, Jonathan Craig and Paul Givan and among their rivals are UKIP’s Brian Higginson. Robbie Butler and Jenny Palmer of the UUP, the SDLP’s Pat Catneyand the TUV’s Lyle Rea.

Dromore councillor Mr Rankin said he looked forward to lending his support to Mrs Hale’s campaign in the weeks ahead.

“I was delighted,” he said, “to join with the First Minister and DUP Leader Arlene Foster, the Deputy Leader Nigel Dodds, Jeffrey Donaldson MP, local councillors and party members at Banbridge Electoral Office on Friday afternoon, as DUP candidates from Lagan Valley, Upper Bann, South Down and Newry andArmagh submitted their nomination papers for the forthcoming Assembly election.

“In my own council area of Dromore and District, the DUP election communications will be advising electors to give Brenda Hale their first preference vote - as well as in the Dromara, Hillsborough and Moira areas - then to transfer down the line accordingly.

“I look forward to assisting Brenda in the coming weeks and will be encouraging people to give her their support on polling day, May 5.

“A vote for Brenda is also a vote for Arlene Foster to continue in the role of First Minister going forward.”