Defeated DUP election candidate Brenda Hale has called for “greater cooperation for the sake of the unionist family.”
Mrs Hale lost her Lagan Valley seat to Pat Catney after failing to attract enough transfers to overtake the SDLP man on the final count on Friday night.
She thanked the 4,566 people who gave her their first preference vote and said she’s been “humbled and overwhelmed by the messages of support and regret” she’s received in the wake of the election result.
“The DUP remain the largest Party in Lagan Valley and across Northern Ireland and I, like many unionists, wish to see greater cooperation for the sake of our unionist family,” she commented.
Mrs Hale, whose soldier husband, Mark, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009, warned that the loss of the unionist majority at Stormont could be a significant setback for the campaign for equal treatment for veterans in Northern Ireland.
“I will, of course, continue to lobby for the full implementation and recognition of the Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland, although this is now in a much more precarious position,” she said.
Mrs Hale went on to congratulate the successful Assembly candidates and thank all the volunteers who helped with her campaign.
Thanking her constituency office staff for their “tireless work” over the past six years, she confirmed that she wouldn’t rule out running for election again in the future.
“We are in uncertain times and I would not rule out the possibility of running again for election should the opportunity arise,” the DUP woman continued. “I will continue to take an active interest in local constituency matters; although I do have grave concerns that the voices of our service community will no longer be heard so loudly.”