South Down Independent Unionist John McCallister MLA has announced he will be standing in the May Assembly elections.
“It is an immense privilege to serve the people of South Down in the Assembly,” said Mr McCallister.
“It is my belief that I can best do this as an Independent Unionist. I can put the people of South Down first without being required to follow a party line.
“With a strong record in providing a constituency service for the entire community, I am again seeking the support of the people of South Down in order that I can be a common-sense voice for them.
“In this Assembly I have consistently urged serious and meaningful reform of how we do politics in Northern Ireland. ‘Us-and-Them’ divisions have only led to crisis after crisis, to an Assembly and Executive incapable of making real decisions.
“This is why I have brought my Executive and Assembly Reform Bill before the Assembly - giving the big parties an opportunity, if they have the courage to take it, to really change how things are done at Stormont.
“I will continue to be an advocate for real change in the Assembly, for a new politics - based on Government and Opposition rather than ‘Us-and-Them’ - which works for all the people of Northern Ireland and gives real choice.
“Northern Ireland needs those in the Assembly who will commit to being a real Opposition, to hold the Executive to account on behalf of citizens and taxpayers. Unlike other candidates, with their parties’ ambitions to grab ministerial seats, I am committed to being a robust Opposition voice in the next Assembly, making sure that Ministers and the Executive are held to account.
“I also believe that Northern Ireland needs pro-Union voices which build support across the community for Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom. I pledge to be such a voice in the next Assembly for the generous, inclusive values of today’s UK.
“Bringing up a young family in South Down, I am passionate about making our constituency a real success story in Northern Ireland. From our tourist products, to our schools and industry, South Down has so much to offer, but the people of South Down need a strong and independent voice in the Assembly - someone who has experience and a proven track record of getting things done.
“The great privilege of living in a democracy is also a weighty responsibility.
“I urge all the people of South Down to vote on 5th May.For those who feel disillusioned by the old divisions at Stormont, those who want to see real change, those who want the choice of voting for a candidate who will hold the Executive to account, those who want a shared Northern Ireland that isn’t a place apart in today’s UK, I ask for your support - to be your voice in the Assembly.”