Robinson - "I will never take our voters for granted"

DUP Leader Gavin Robinson MP has thanked those who voted DUP on Thursday and pledged to work for greater cohesion within the Pro-Union movement.

By Gavin Robinson MP

Belfast East

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Gavin Robinson said,

"I want to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to all of those who voted for our DUP team across Northern Ireland.

On behalf of our candidates, I say thank you to the tens of thousands of people who turned out to give their support to us.

Public service is a privilege and both I, and my colleagues, will do all in our power to repay the trust that has been placed in us.

The outcome of this election is not what we had wanted and we must be realistic about the significant job of work ahead to get Unionism into a stronger and more strategic position.

I want to pay tribute to the commitment of our outgoing Members of Parliament Ian Paisley and Paul Girvan. They, and their staff, have worked tirelessly for their constituents and their loss is a sad day for us. Jonathan Buckley fought a tremendous campaign in very difficult and challenging circumstances. Jonathan stepped up for us and I have every confidence that he will bounce back stronger than ever in service to his community.

I am in deep gratitude to the efforts of all our candidates and their teams. They have pounded the streets for weeks, engaging in conversations across Northern Ireland. We will reflect on all we have heard and will learn from the experience. As a new leader I will never take our voters for granted.

While Unionism went into this election with eight seats and comes out with eight seats, we can never again see a situation where Pro-Union voters are so divided that seats are lost to those who will not promote the Union.

I am pledged to work for greater cohesion within the Pro-Union movement. In North Down it has been demonstrated what can be achieved with co-operation, allied to a strong work ethic. Having unilaterally taken the decision to support Alex Easton, as well as Diane Armstrong in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, there is no doubt that the Unionist influence can be advanced.

In truth the result in North Down demonstrated what is possible when unionists work together and the result in Lagan Valley demonstrated the cost of division.

The combined nationalist vote in 1998 was around 40% and last night it was again around 40%. There has been no groundswell of support for a border poll as some within Sinn Fein would claim.

For our part we will focus on helping build unionism and we will work with other Pro-Union colleagues in that endeavour."

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