In this time of what seems to be global political turmoil, those living in Northern Ireland need to be represented more than ever. With a lack of a functioning government at Stormont, MPs hold a more crucial role than ever before.

I am aware that across Northern Ireland and indeed in my constituency, West Tyrone, there is a wide range of people, with different opinions, ideas, hopes, dreams and aspirations.

The one thing however we surely can all agree on is the fact that we deserve to be represented. We deserve to have our voices heard, however different they may be.

An MP who refuses to sit in parliament is an MP who does not fully care for their constituents. Such an MP shows blatant disregard for all the constituents, those who voted for them, those who voted for someone else, or those who didn’t vote at all. Refusing to take their seat, these MPs are failing to stand up for their constituents.

As representatives, Cllrs, MLAs, MPs and MEPs should be the metaphorical loudspeaker of their constituency. In the Ulster Unionist Party our motto is country first, party second and individual third. To me this means fairly and accurately representing the constituents. Sometimes this may involve swallowing your pride, be that sitting in Westminster, arguing for something which you originally may not have wanted or voting not for yourself, but for the majority of people in your constituency.

I understand that constituents are encouraged to vote for MPs who have done, and will continue to refuse to take their seats after 8th June. I strongly urge you to think again. You deserve better than this. You deserve to have your voice heard; heard by an MP in the constituency; heard by Westminster; and heard by the world.

So on 8th June please use your vote wisely. Please vote for change. Vote for someone who has your best interests at heart. Vote for someone who will listen to you, understand you and REPRESENT you.

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