Since its establishment, the SDLP has worked closely with the British Labour party on a wide range of issues, and we have found common ground on many of our core values.
We are elected on our manifesto not someone else’s. We are not tied to another party. Whether Labour is in power or in opposition, we will stand firm on our principles. Our MPs in Westminster voted against every stage of Welfare Reform. We voted against a welfare cap. During the last Labour government, we were unwavering in opposition to the Iraq War. Our MPs voted against the cut in the 10p tax rate. We refused to accept 42 day detention. These were all issues that Labour supported. I have already made it clear that if Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister, we will continue to stand firm on our principles.
Naturally we want the party we share the most ideological goals with in government. That means that the SDLP will categorically refuse to support David Cameron and the Conservative party. The austerity measures he has imposed upon Northern Ireland, which we continue to oppose, are only the beginning. A second Cameron-led government would inflict further cuts of £30bn on the public.
The needs of people in Northern Ireland are significantly different from those in middle England. With significant Tory and UKIP power blocks in the next parliament, we will be the left of centre backbone of a Labour administration and along with the SNP and Plaid Cymru, will ensure that the next Labour government remains true to its values. We want to work in Westminster to secure a better future for everyone in Northern Ireland: one that involves remaining in Europe, enhanced fiscal powers to unlock the potential of tourism and position ourselves on a level playing field with business in the South and a fully transparent way in which to properly deal with issues from our past.
We want to support a strong Labour Government with a progressive programme for the next parliament. Voting for the SDLP will help deliver that.