Election 2015 Northern Ireland

Election 2015: Alliance to bring 'unique voice' to parliament

Naomi Long and David Ford at the launch of the Alliance Party manifesto Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Naomi Long and David Ford at the launch of the Alliance Party manifesto

The Alliance Party will bring a "unique" voice to Westminster, ensuring the people of Northern Ireland are heard, the deputy leader has said.

Naomi Long was speaking at the launch of the party's manifesto, ahead of the 7 May general election.

The document, Step Forward, Not Back emphasises policies aimed at promoting community relations.

Ms Long said representation for the party at Westminster would help it achieve its vision of a shared future.

She said the party would build on her achievements as an MP.

"In the next parliament, Alliance will continue our fight to provide the best future we can for everyone in Northern Ireland, ensuring their voice is heard and respected," she said.

The party said that a divided society cost public services an estimated £1bn per year and reducing it is part of their plans on public finance.

Alliance said they "accept the principle" that the UK's deficit should be reduced, but it should not be done solely by cuts to services.

They said a form of "progressive revenue-raising" should be considered by the Stormont Executive.

This would include proposals for a water charge, accompanied by a reduction in rates.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDeputy Leader Naomi Long said the party would build on her achievements as an MP

Party leader David Ford said the party was fielding 18 candidates in the general election to give everybody in Northern Ireland "the opportunity to vote for an Alliance candidate because we believe we have a unique vision and unique values".

Asked what the party would do in the event of a hung parliament, Ms Long said values would influence any decisions.

Key priorities

Alliance

Main pledges

  • Promote integration and a shared future - division costs over £1bn pa
  • Build a 21st century economy that can compete globally
  • Invest in public services, like schools and hospitals
  • Reboot NI political system: ensure openness about donations; create an opposition; push to lower voting age to 16

"I sat in the opposition benches, but I voted with the government when I felt that they were following policies that provided inclusion and progress and I voted with the opposition when I felt that they were not," she said.

"I think that's how Alliance should approach any situation in the case of a hung parliament."

Alliance's other policies include:

  • A target of 20% of children in integrated schools by 2020
  • "Ceasing tolerance" of illegally erected flags and emblems.
  • Tax-dodging bill within the first 100 days of new parliament to require foreign companies to pay tax on profits generated in the UK
  • Support the reduction or abolition of Air Passenger Duty across the UK.
  • The party would abolish the spare room subsidy