UUP ELECTION candidate Tom Elliott has said Sinn Fein are threatened by the strength of the unionist challenge and have embarked upon a negative campaign against him.
Speaking this week to the Herald Mr Elliott accused Michelle Gildernew and Sinn Fein of running a negative campaign aimed at trying to discredit him.
“They have said that I’m a joint Orange Tory candidate. The Tories have nothing to do with me, I have nothing to do with them, I don’t how they come to that conclusion. It’s quite interesting that they also said I have publicly said I will never enter a GAA ground. I never said that, I did say I had no intention of going to a GAA match and I repeated that, that’s not new. And photographs you carried last week were taken at Ederney GAA ground.
“It just shows that they have to run a very negative campaign because they have nothing positive to say themselves.”
Asked about the prospect of Sinn Fein extending their winning margin in May given the perceived demographic changes in the county in favour of nationalists, Mr Elliott said he wasn’t convinced that this would be a big factor in the outcome. Many nationalists, he believed, were keen to have an MP who took their seat in Westminster.
“I don’t know if the demographics have changed massively since the last election, but obviously we’re in it to win. There is a fine balance, we will be contesting for every vote and let’s be clear there are people on the doorsteps when I was out from what I would perceive a nationalist perspective, who said ‘in most things we’re probably closer to you then we are to the other nationalist parties and we want to remain within the union, we don’t have any issue with that, we feel we’re better within the union and would consider giving you our vote’ and that has been said on a number of occasions.”
He continued: “Obviously Rodney (Connor) was very positive at that time too (2011), very optimistic so I’m in the same vein, clearly I’m in it to win. A lot of people realise they haven’t had representation in Westminster for the past 14 years and people want to have their voice, they want to make sure someone is representing there.”
Mr Elliott has had a busy week on the campaign trail taking in Enniskillen, Derrylin, Erne West, Fivemiletown, Killen, Aughnacloy, Tempo and Clabby canvassing for votes. While he admits it can be challenging juggling the responsibilities of being a farmer, husband, MLA and election candidate he wouldn’t have it any other way. He ensures he attends the ‘crucial issues’ at Stormont and has help on the farm to assist him. It still however leaves little free time during the busy weeks leading up to election.
“When you get home at night you have emails to catch up on and various issues to get tidied up so it’s quite late when you get to bed and early when you get up because you want to get an early start at it. It is a labour of love though and hopefully it pays off.”
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition
Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere