Archive for March, 2010

Hermon Resolves to ‘Fight to Win’

“As we approach the end of this Parliament with the Easter Recess beginning next Tuesday and Dissolution expected shortly thereafter, the mandate given to me at the last General Election to serve the people of North Down as an Ulster Unionist is virtually at an end.

The distance, however, between me and my Party has become so great over recent months that I have decided to resign from the Ulster Unionist Party with effect from midnight last night (Wednesday).  I have taken a considerable amount of time to think and to reflect before coming to this decision, but I believe it to be the right one for the Party and for me.   That said, leaving the Ulster Unionist Party causes me profound sadness, as I have been proud to serve it at Westminster since first becoming its MP for North Down in 2001. 

I have already notified my resignation to the Party Leader, Sir Reg Empey MLA, and also to the Chairman of the local UUP Association, Alan McFarland MLA.  Whatever the political differences between the Party and me, I remain deeply appreciative of kindnesses shown by and good friendships made with members throughout the Party, and especially those in the local Association.

It is now my intention to stand my ground, fighting the forthcoming General Election as an independent and fighting to win. The tremendous support I have received from constituents during the recent stressful and difficult time in my political life has encouraged me greatly, and convinced me that I ought to run again as a candidate. 

It has been truly a privilege for me to serve the people of North Down for the last nine years, and it will be the people of North Down who will give the ultimate verdict on my record as their MP.”

March 25th, 2010

Hermon Condemns Hammer Gang Attack

“It is an absolute disgrace that a gang of thugs should take the law into their own hands and attack a group of people in a house on Beechwood Gardens in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Such violent and intimidatory behaviour is to be utterly condemned, and I would appeal to any witnesses or anyone with information about the incident to contact the local police as soon as possible.

The quicker these criminals are apprehended and made to account for their actions before the courts, the better.”

March 11th, 2010

Hermon Defends Prep Departments

Speaking to the County Down Spectator after Tuesday’s visit by Education Minister Caitriona Ruane to Glencraig Integrated Primary School, the North Down MP, Lady Hermon said:

“Amidst the Minister’s very heavy schedule of commitments, I was pleased that she still made time to visit Glencraig Integrated Primary School, where she was made most welcome.  The school choir and the special Assembly were, as I’ve come to expect, excellent and put a ‘spring’ in my step for the rest of the day”

Referring, however, to the recent controversy over the Department of Education’s proposal to withdraw public funding from Preparatory Departments from the start of September, Lady Hermon commented:

“With Caitriona Ruane’s visit to North Down, I certainly took the opportunity to urge her to abandon her Department’s wholly misguided proposal to withdraw public funding from Prep departments as of 1st September this year. 

On behalf of the very many parents, staff and governors who have already written to me protesting – quite rightly – about this proposal, I have pleaded with Caitriona Ruane to promptly abandon this discriminatory and extraordinarily expensive proposal.  I understand its implementation, if it were to go ahead – and, at this stage, there is no certainty at all about that – might cost her Department somewhere in the region of £22m.

So, there is no economic justification whatsoever for taking forward this proposal.  I remain hopeful, therefore, that commonsense, sound economic arguments and the sheer weight of opposition from all those affected by this proposal will prevail, and see it swiftly abandoned.  In the meantime, I really would encourage parents to hold firm, until we see what transpires over the next few weeks.”

March 4th, 2010