Resignation Speech, Banbridge Leisure Centre, Upper Bann Election Count, May 5th, 2005

Madam Deputy Returning Officer – may I endorse the vote of thanks to yourself and to your staff for the conduct of this election and the result that we have now had. May I also then convey thanks to a number of other folk – first of all, and principally of course to my wife Daphne and to my family who have given me tremendous support and I know that for them, or at least I hope that for them, today’s events will have a silver lining.

May I also thank very much indeed those members of the party of the Upper Bann Ulster Unionist Party for all the work that they have done in the course of this campaign and I look forward to the count in the local government election, where I hope that we will see and that people will see that there is still a strong Ulster Unionist Party in this constituency and a base on which to rebuild Ulster Unionism here. But most of all in terms of thanks I want to thank the tens of thousands of people in Upper Bann who, over the course of the last fifteen years have given me the enormous privilege of representing them in the House of Commons – there is no greater honour that anyone can have than to sit in the British House of Commons and to represent their constituents there.

I believe that my record over the last number of years will be there and that we have had the opportunity with the support of folk here to do something for Northern Ireland – and I believe that the situation that Northern Ireland is now in is a much better one as a result of what we have done, and I am proud of our record.

Today of course has been a considerable success for the Democratic Unionist Party, and that cannot be gainsaid, but they will know that with that success comes responsibility – I believe that they have inherited from Ulster Unionism a very strong position for Unionism and I hope that they will safeguard that position over the course of the months to come.

Thank you.

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