Doug Beattie has been selected by the Ulster Unionist Party as its candidate in Upper Bann for the forthcoming general election.
And he has called on those who support the union to come out and vote.
Mr Beattie, an MLA, said, “It is absolutely clear that the 2017 snap general election on June 8 will be one of the most crucial in a generation. The vote to leave the European Union was a seismic decision but one that must be respected by all democratically minded people.
“But in the wake of that decision we have seen the rise of opportunistic nationalism and therefore the constitutional position of the United Kingdom is now front and centre of this general election.
“Nationalism, be that in Scotland or Northern Ireland, is trying to use Brexit to destroy the union. Therefore it is important that a strong unionist voice remains dominant in Westminster to steer the country through the choppy waters of instability brought about by Brexit.”
Mr Beattie paid tribute to the sitting MP David Simpson who, he said, “has served this constituency selflessly for the last 12 years”.
He added, “But like anything in life there comes a time when we need to refresh our approach, address the issues through a new set of eyes and a different mindset. That can only be brought about through change.
“Upper Bann is a unionist seat and the only two candidates who can win that seat are David Simpson or myself. If the seat is to be lost it will only be lost if those who support the union do not come out to vote but instead sit idly in their living rooms, bars or clubs. In the last elections nearly 30 per cent of those who were registered to vote didn’t bother voting.
“Where I ask everyone in Upper Bann to ensure they are registered to vote I have to remind them that it means nothing to be registered if you don’t bother voting.
“As an unashamed unionist and career soldier I will front up against those who would try to destroy the UK by undermining the union. It is not just about Northern Ireland and nationalists who are threatening to use Brexit as an opportunity to attempt to destabilise the union, it is about nationalism throughout the UK and it can only be defeated by doing more than just defend the union through fear – it needs an MP who will promote a confident, respectful and inclusive union.
“I will be that MP if you the electorate vote for a refreshed MP to represent you at Westminster.”