From Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP <[email protected]>
Subject No summer break here.
Date July 29, 2023 6:59 AM
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🗳️ Ensure that when the Westminster election arrives, we are not working against each other but working with each other.

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Good morning John

For as long as I have been in politics, grassroots unionists have been seeking their elected representatives to work together. Wherever I travel in Northern Ireland people say to me “there are too many unionist parties” or “we are fed up with unionist infighting”.

In recent years, there has been a more meaningful effort to set aside labels and work cohesively for the betterment of Northern Ireland. In my time as Party Leader, I have sought to avoid engaging in public bickering with fellow unionists and have instead concentrated on defending and promoting the Union of the United Kingdom.

Whilst I will disagree at times with other unionists about tactics, we are on the same page on most major issues about the Union.

It is a point of great frustration when I read a fellow unionist manufacturing an attack on this Party or other unionists. I use the term ‘manufacture’ as the attack will lack substance and be driven more by an effort to gain media coverage or advance their personal agenda than any desire to advance Northern Ireland.

Sadly, this applies to some within our own ranks who brief against their own Party and damage our electoral prospects and the cause of the Union. It won’t deflect me or our Party from the task in hand which is to restore our place in the United kingdom and prevent our opponents from winning the next election.

In some cases, years of daily gutting each other on the airwaves has had an eroding effect on the pro-union voter. Indeed, it drives many pro-union voters to stand back from getting involved in elected politics or voting in elections. This has cost unionism dear and helped pave the way for the success of our opponents.

Since becoming DUP Leader, I have made it my goal to reach out to other unionist parties and groupings to encourage them to work with me and my DUP colleagues to take Northern Ireland in the right direction.

Ultimately the goal of working together must be to maximise the vote of every pro-union voter on polling day. It is frustrating that unionism could have had more seats in the last Assembly election if the transfer rate between unionist parties had been better. Division costs unionism seats and influence.

Whatever our differences, I would rather have three or four more pro-union MLAs in Stormont than MLAs who either want to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom or who don’t care about the Union.

Whilst some people will quite rightly be taking a well-earned summer holiday, I will be at my desk working to get a solution on the Northern Ireland Protocol and to ensure that when the next Westminster election arrives, we are not working against each other but working with each other.

Best wishes,

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP
DUP Leader
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Parliament is in recess, but this is a throwback to Sir Jeffrey’s speech on the continued application of EU law to all goods manufactured in NI irregardless of whether they are being sold in the UK or the EU.
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