UUP's Jim Nicholson To Stand Down From European Parliament

The Ulster Unionist Party's Jim Nicholson has announced that he will not be putting his name forward as the party's candidate in the upcoming European elections.

It comes after a development in the Brexit negotiations confirmed the UK would participate in the elections on 23 May.

Mr Nicholson has represented Northern Ireland in Brussels for the past 30 years, but said it was "time to hand the baton on" in a statement released yesterday, 15 April.

He explained: "It has been an enormous honour to represent Northern Ireland in the European Parliament for the last 30 years as an Ulster Unionist MEP. I have always endeavoured to do what's right for all our people no matter their background. I worked with Ian Paisley and John Hume to secure peace funding from Europe and it's something of which I am enormously proud. I want to wish all the best to whoever is nominated as the Ulster Unionist Party's candidate."
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He also slammed the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the UK's exit from the EU as "scandalous", and called for a sensible deal to be reached by the end of June. "The fact that the United Kingdom is now facing the prospect of European Elections and the backstop, which undermines the integrity of the United Kingdom, has been allowed to dictate the nature of our future relationships, underlines the absurdity of the Government's negotiating tactics."

Paying tribute to the long-standing politician, Ulster Unionist Leader Robin Swann MLA commented: "Jim may be standing down but I am sure this won't be last time we'll be hearing his views. He has been a sensible voice in politics throughout the Troubles and right up until the present day. He is an unashamed unionist and has always stood up for the interests of Northern Ireland and our place within the United Kingdom.

"His wise counsel has always been welcomed within the party and I look forward to that continuing. If anybody thinks Jim will slip quietly into retirement, they don't know the man. I want to personally thank Jim for the all the help and support that he has given me over the years. It is much appreciated."


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