Northern Ireland

UKIP 'authentic voice of Brexit'

Paul Girvan
Image caption Paul Girvan denied that UKIP has had its day

Voters in favour of Brexit should back UKIP in the Northern Ireland council elections, as it is the "authentic voice of Brexit", the party has said.

Its regional manager for NI, Paul Girvan, said the party's manifesto showed it offers a unique alternative.

UKIP is standing 18 candidates across seven councils in the local government elections.

It won three seats in 2014 and is hoping it can equal its performance this time around.

'Transfer Stormont powers'

Mr Girvan said UKIP was one of only two parties organised on a national level for the council elections.

The party's manifesto also includes pledges to end mass uncontrolled immigration and abolish the BBC licence fee.

It is also advocating for some decision-making powers currently held by Stormont to be transferred to Northern Ireland's 11 councils.

Mr Girvan said the absence of devolved government at Stormont means voters are being failed, and that giving more powers to councillors would create a greater deal of political accountability.

"In the vacuum and democratic deficit of the past two years, we feel this not only returns decision-making to a local level, but also offers the representation to people that they have been denied," he added.

He denied UKIP has had its day - after a small surge in the polls in Northern Ireland in 2014 but little electoral success since - with former leader Nigel Farage quitting and creating a new party, The Brexit Party.

Mr Girvan said UKIP in Northern Ireland would continue to speak up for voters who had backed Brexit, and call for a "unilateral and unconditional withdrawal" of the UK from the EU.