TUV selects Cooper for Strangford constituency

TUV selects Cooper for Strangford constituency

24 November 2021

THE TUV has chosen Stephen Cooper as its Strangford candidate in next year’s Assembly election.The Ards and North Down councillor, who lives in Comber, has served on the local authority for the past seven years.

The TUV said Mr Cooper “knows the needs and issues” of Strangford at first hand and after over 20 years of international travel, brings extensive global business experience to accentuate his negotiating abilities which will be crucial in the coming Assembly term to challenge the Northern Ireland Protocol and the many other issues that unionism faces.

Having worked in Stormont in the years after the Belfast Agreement for the UK Unionist Party, the TUV says Mr Cooper has “invaluable political experience” as well as his widespread knowledge of the world outside of the political bubble to offer to the electorate.

The party says as a former UDR soldier, he is well aware of the ongoing need for robust application of the rule of law and remains determined to continue to vehemently oppose the appeasement of terrorism at all costs.

“I am delighted to receive unanimous backing and support from my local branch members and party officers to carry the baton and give the people of Strangford a real alternative,” said Mr Cooper following his formal nomination.

“Headlines in the past few days have underscored how Stormont has failed on bread and butter issues like health. Since devolution returned in 2007, the number of hospital beds has reduced by 1,500. 

“We have one of the lowest numbers of ICU beds per 100,000 of population in the western world and the NI Executive has failed when it comes to this core issue and many others, impacting the day-to-day lives of countless people across Northern Ireland.”

Mr Cooper argued that in constitutional terms, “the damage to the Union is at a critical stage”. 

He continued: “The sea border remains in situ and the High Court has found that Article Six of the Act of Union is no longer in place as a result of the NI Protocol which has been foisted on the people of Northern Ireland at a huge financial cost.

“Data shows the out-workings of a deliberate strategy to divert trade from within the UK market, and annexe us from the Union Kingdom.”

Mr Cooper said people across Strangford were “shocked and outraged” that not a single MLA from the area voted against bringing in 43 EU directives and regulations into Northern Ireland.

“Such dereliction of duty is unforgivable and I can assure the people of Strangford that if returned next year they will find in their TUV MLA a voice of principled and determined opposition to all attempts to undermine our position within the UK. The future of the Union is at stake.”

TUV leader Jim Allister said he is pleased to commend Mr Cooper to the people of Strangford for the upcoming Assembly election. 

“Stephen is a strong local candidate who I am confident will provide the people of the constituency in which I was educated with first class representation,” he said.

“The TUV looks forward to this election with confidence having witnessed a significant growth in both interest and membership of the party locally. Strangford is very much a TUV target in the upcoming Assembly election and I look forward to Stephen joining me on the Stormont benches.”