‘No election grudge match against DUP’ – Patterson

NI Assembly Election 2016

‘No election grudge match against DUP’ – Patterson

Ruth Patterson has told UTV her bid to be elected as MLA for south Belfast will not be a 'grudge match' against her former party the DUP.

Ms Patterson is currently an independent councillor for south Belfast, after falling out publicly with the DUP when they co-opted former special adviser Emma Pengelly into the seat vacated by Jimmy Spratt.

Her decision to stand in south Belfast could bring her into conflict with her former party, but Ms Patterson insists that isn’t her intention.

“Whenever you look back at the previous Assembly election in 2011, where the people of south Belfast afforded me 3,800 first preference votes, the highest polling candidate in the whole of Northern Ireland to not get elected, I think it’s only right that I give those same people another chance to vote for me,” she said.

Ms Patterson has caused controversy in the past with some of her views and her choice of campaign manager, the equally high profile former flag protestor Jamie Bryson, has certainly led to an expectation of a headline-making campaign.

Bryson has also been at the heart of the news agenda in Northern Ireland as recently as January, due to allegations made against the former First Minister Peter Robinson about his involvement in the NAMA scandal.

Mr Robinson has consistently denied any wrongdoing in relation to that matter.

Ms Patterson and Jamie Bryson both share a common path in regards to their views on the flag protests, with the pair having softened from their initial views and instead promoting political discourse to resolve the problem.

“It gave the people a focus but now I would certainly like to see that energy being focussed through the political forum,” Ms Patterson said.

“If I was talking to any young loyalist now, I would tell them to go to Queen’s, get educated in Law or get into politics, that’s the way we’re going to make a difference,” said Mr Bryson.

“Protest is a tool to highlight your grievances and bring them to the fore and we did that.

“If there was a mistake that we all made during the protests and it was a collective failure, it was that we couldn’t convert that into more constructive political activism.”

When pressed on whether this was a convenient thing to say after seeing others end up with prison records over the flag protests, Mr Bryson replied: “Well I’ve got a prison record too.”

Ms Patterson said that leaving the DUP has freed her up to take her own stand on other controversial issues, including supporting same-sex marriage.

“I stand not only for unionism, but I stand for all the people of south Belfast and that includes people from the gay, lesbian and bisexual community,” she said.

“I know there has been a lot of controversy about gay marriage as of late and the reality is, who am I to judge anyone?

Further pressed on whether she would vote to allow same-sex marriage if it came to that scenario, the independent candidate said that she would.

“Yes, it would be a conscience vote,” she said.

Despite Ms Patterson’s rejections of a grudge match, the south Belfast elections, in which all candidates are new to the Assembly, is sure to be hard fought.

© UTV

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Comments (12)

Newest Bunter in East Belfast wrote (2 months ago):

@ Dorothy of Kansas You mention young Ian Paisley and bigotry in the same tone of voice that is why I mentioned it. I lived in America (California) and when I lived there I LIVED there not in NI. Now that I live back in my native land, America is just good memories. What happens there is none of my business unless it effects me or mine. Bigotry is for fools and I have no time for fools, or Trump.

gee in antrim wrote (2 months ago):

no grudge match? dream on.

Commenting is now closed

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