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Pep rally for Ulster distressed

Boris Johnson accused of "betrayal"

By Anthony Neeson


A pre-election loyalist rally in Belfast has been told that “Ulster’s in distress.”

The Ulster Hall rally against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal saw prominent unionists from the DUP and Orange Order in attendance. The media was denied access to the event.

Those behind the gathering described Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal with the EU as a “Betrayal Act” as it would see Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of Britain, with a trade border down the Irish Sea.

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In a statement, organizers said: “The overwhelming message of the evening was unambiguous. This generation of loyalists will not be the generation to fail Ulster.

“We will not tolerate an Economic United Ireland. We will not accept a border in the Irish Sea. We will vote Unionist on the 12th December. We will resist the Betrayal Act.”

The Democratic Unionist Party are defending ten of the 18 Northern Ireland seats that are up for grabs this Thursday in the Westminster general election, and are under pressure to hold their three Belfast seats from Alliance leader Naomi Long in East Belfast, from the SDLP’s Claire Hanna in South Belfast, and Sinn Féin’s John Finucane in North Belfast.

With an unofficial pact between Sinn Féin and the SDLP in North and South Belfast – where one “pro-Remain” candidate has been given a clear run in the field against the DUP – the unionist party's outgoing MPs Nigel Dodds and Emma Little-Pengelly are vulnerable. Gavin Robinson is defending an 8,474 majority over his Alliance challenger from the 2017 general election.

With SDLP leader Colum Eastwood hoping to take back the seat in Derry that the party lost to Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion last time out, he has appealed to the parties in Northern Ireland to restore power-sharing as the North faces its third year without a government.

Speaking about Sinn Féin’s policy of abstentionism, Eastwood said: “Decisions are made by those who show up.”

With the House of Commons in London being unable to support either Theresa May or Boris Johnson’s Brexit deals over the past year, Sinn Féin have branded the House of Commons as the “House of Chaos.”

Voters go to the polls on Thursday in Northern Ireland to elect 18 MPs. In 2017, the DUP won ten seats, Sinn Féin seven seats and there was one Independent Unionist, Lady Sylvia Hermon in North Down. She is not running this time.