Below is the full statement from unity candidate Rondey Connor (hat-tip Slugger O’Toole):
“Today I am announcing as a candidate for the constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone. I want to be a voice for the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone at Westminster.
Through my work, over the years I believe that I have already demonstrated a proven track record of delivering in the constituency for people from right across the community. I know what Fermanagh and South Tyrone needs and I believe that I am well equipped to help deliver it.
Now more than ever it is essential that Fermanagh and South Tyrone has representation at Westminster. At a time of financial difficulties and recession it is vital that a constituency so far geographically removed from Westminster has its voice and influence maximised in the House of Commons.
While, if elected, I would sit as an independent, I am prepared to accept the Conservative Party whip. However on matters affecting Northern Ireland I shall vote on the basis of what I believe is in the best interests of the people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone.”
Commenting after a meeting of the Fermanagh and South Tyrone DUP Association on Thursday evening where the Party unanimously endorsed Rodney Connor, the DUP’‘s Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Arlene Foster said,
“I am delighted by the news that Rodney Connor has indicated that he is willing to stand as an independent candidate in the General Election in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. This follows many weeks of discussions and negotiations and represents a good and potentially historic day for Fermanagh and South Tyrone and for unionism.
When unionism is divided unionism is weakened. I have no doubt that Fermanagh and South Tyrone can set the example for other areas in Northern Ireland to follow.
The DUP has always made it clear that we are prepared to step aside in the event that an independent unionist candidate could be agreed. I have no doubt that Rodney Connor is such a candidate and I give him my, and my party’s wholehearted and unqualified support.
I have known Rodney Connor for many years and know him to be of the utmost integrity and of the highest character. I have no doubt he can galvanise the votes of those who want to see Fermanagh and South Tyrone represented at Westminster. The next few weeks will see Rodney Connor take his campaign to every part of the constituency. I will be delighted to be part of that campaign.
I hope that after May 6th Fermanagh and South Tyrone can again have its voice heard at Westminster. This would give an enormous boost to the entire unionist community.”