The SDLP's 2019 priorities
This is no ordinary election. It is our opportunity to take back control from Boris Johnson, the DUP and the rest of the Brexiteers who have sidelined our interests and ignored our democratically expressed will for three years. It’s our chance to stop Boris and stop Brexit.
In recent times our politics has lurched from crisis to crisis. Political failure in Belfast and London has left us facing the prospect of new borders that threaten the progress of our past as well as our future prosperity. With no government in Stormont and no anti-Brexit voice for Northern Ireland in Westminster, people across the North have had their voices silenced. This election provides a unique opportunity to reclaim your voice and demand delivery. We can send to send politicians back to work.
The dysfunction and disorientation twinned between Stormont and Westminster is being acutely felt across our communities. Despite the immense uncertainty, for people businesses and communities here the politics of this election could not be more certain. The choice facing the electorate, is simple. You can vote for the SDLP who will go to Westminster and vote down Boris Johnson and Brexit. Or to to let the DUP in the backdoor by voting for abstentionist MPs, who won’t show up, leaving Northern Ireland once again at the mercy of a Brexit obsessed Tory administration in Downing Street wanting to railroad a hard Brexit on communities here at any cost.
People across Northern Ireland will pay a heavy price for Brexit. Brexit will inflict unprecedented economic devastation, costing tens of thousands of jobs. Risking a rollback on the progress made during our peace process and the introduction of new barriers to cooperation across these islands. The threat of a Tory Brexit to these islands, our politics, our economy, our way of life, cannot be understated.
This election is our chance. It's our opportunity to choose – between Boris Johnson’s future or a future which embraces our common European identity, one that erodes the need for borders or barriers and enhances the opportunity for new jobs. Brexit is not inevitable. But stopping it requires unprecedented cooperation across traditional party and community divides. We need to replicate the progressive cross-community coalition that secured a remain vote here in 2016. That’s why the SDLP has taken decisions which are uncomfortable for us but in the substantial interests of the people we represent to deliver more remain MPs and remove more Brexiteers.
The next Westminster Parliament will determine our future, whether we like it or not, the votes there will matter. Remaining in the European Union is fundamental to our future, that’s why SDLP MPs will use any future mandate to protect our place in Europe. Northern Ireland voted to remain, we cannot risk waking up on 13thDecember with ten toxic DUP MPs and seven empty seats again.
SDLP MPs will join a coalition of opposition to Brexit and to Boris Johnson’s government at Westminster. We will demand an end to austerity, demand a return to devolution and demand that the voices of people right across the North are respected. Our votes will count and your voice will be heard in the only place where Brexit can be stopped.
SDLP MPs will vote to prevent the privatisation of our health service, we’ll vote to scrap the bedroom tax, universal credit and to extend mitigations to protect the vulnerable.
But fundamentally, a vote for the SDLP in this election is a vote to stop Brexit and stop Boris Johnson.