This election comes at the most important juncture for Northern Ireland in a generation. The decision we make will fundamentally shape our future together for years to come. This election isn’t about the Union or Irish Unity, or Green, Orange or Other – it is about electing the person who will best represent you and your family. This is an opportunity to choose a different direction.

Claire is a committed social democrat – she wants to talk about five key policy themes during this election.

  1. South Belfast voted Remain
  2. Working towards a wellbeing economy
  3. A sustainable, more compassionate future for the next generation
  4. Our children and families are healthy and educated
  5. Supporting good governance in Northern Ireland

South Belfast voted Remain

Nearly 70% of people in South Belfast voted to Remain – but we are being dragged out of the European Union against our will. During the referendum, Claire campaigned tirelessly to Remain and has since fought to ensure the voices of people in South Belfast and Northern Ireland are heard and their interests protected. Despite the result in South Belfast, our area has been represented by an MP who has pursued a reckless no-deal Brexit and supported the suspension of the House of Commons at one of most crucial times in our history.

Claire is clear – no Brexit is good for South Belfast and Northern Ireland. She is an unashamed internationalist who believes that many of our greatest challenges are global and their solutions require international cooperation and partnership.

Claire believes the voices of the majority of people in South Belfast have been ignored and she supports giving you the final say through a People’s Vote. If elected, Claire will support any move in Parliament to secure a People’s Vote.

But, if we are dragged out of the EU against our will, Claire will fight for a deal that ensures there is no hard border on the island of Ireland and will seek the closest possible economic and social partnership with our European neighbours, protecting Northern Ireland’s economic and social interests. But, she is clear that there is no deal and no partnership better than remaining a member of the EU.

Working towards a wellbeing economy

Claire supports moving towards a wellbeing approach to the economy. As a passionate social democrat, she believes in funding excellent public services through progressive taxation, providing a compassionate and fair safety net for people who have fallen on hard times, and creating a thriving business environment which generates tax revenue, supports innovation and creates the jobs of the future.

Since the financial crash, austerity has choked our economy and ruined lives. The cost of living for working families has increased, homelessness has increased, investment in public services has been slashed, our older people face crippling social care costs, but excessive executive bonuses remain and many multinational corporations do not pay their fair share in tax.

If elected, Claire will:

  • Pioneer the introduction of a wellbeing budget, as used in New Zealand and currently being explored in Scotland;
  • Support a progressive approach to taxation, which redistributes income but rewards innovation and entrepreneurship and creates jobs, including ensuring Northern Ireland continues to benefit from EU research and innovation programmes;
  • Fight for the reversal of the callous assault on the welfare system from previous Conservative governments;
  • Support measures to improve workers rights, reduce excessive bonuses, introduce proportionate pay differentials, and end the Gender Pay Gap;
  • Champion proposals to tackle the cost of living crisis, end homelessness and child poverty.

A sustainable, more compassionate future for the next generation

Claire is passionate about our environment and sustainability and supports increasing our domestic and global ambitions for tackling our climate crisis. She believes that sustainable transport options and active travel will be crucial for Northern Ireland to play its part. The truth is that we aren’t doing enough to ensure we are protecting our future generation from our excesses. Our climate crisis doesn’t understand borders, and so our solutions should look beyond them as well.

Claire also believes in a more compassionate approach to international development and humanitarian issues, and believes that we have a responsibility to support the citizens of other countries through challenging times.

If elected, Claire will:

  • Support a Green New Deal for Northern Ireland and the wider UK and lobby to increase the ambition behind the UK’s net zero emissions targets;
  • Support efforts for Northern Ireland to benefit from the GB Contracts for Difference programme which incentivises the development of new renewable energy projects in the absence of subsides in Northern Ireland;
  • Explore opportunities to encourage more investment and uptake of active and sustainable transport options in South Belfast;
  • Fight against any efforts to lower the UK’s international development spending below the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income;
  • Fight for a more compassionate approach to asylum and the treatment of migrants coming to Northern Ireland and the UK.

Our children and families are healthy and educated

Claire has championed the rights of children and families in her political career so far – she doesn’t intend on stopping now. She believes that when our children and families are healthy and educated, our society and economy is more successful. She will continue her fight to address the issues important to families in South Belfast, including the cost of childcare, a well-funded and sustainable NHS and parity between mental health and physical health.

If elected, Claire will:

  • Support any efforts to reduce the costs of childcare through UK wide programmes such as child tax credits and child benefit and Tax-Free Childcare;
  • Fight to ensure EU standards for maternity and paternity rights, including shared parental leave, are protected or enhanced if the UK leaves the European Union;
  • Vote against any efforts to privatise the NHS or reduce spending;
  • Champion any measures that support women back into work, including legal protections around flexible working and pay and conditions, pensions and workplace discrimination;
  • Support parity between mental and physical health in any policy development for Northern Ireland.

Supporting good governance in Northern Ireland

People in Northern Ireland have been without a Government for more than 1,000 days. This has put our public services under significant strain and undermined the confidence of the people of Northern Ireland in their elected representatives.

Claire is adamant that a working devolved Assembly in Northern Ireland is the only way to bring our communities together and govern for everyone – it is a core pillar of our peace process and its absence has put our hard fought progress at risk. As such, Claire will fight hard to push the British and Irish Governments to up their game in supporting the restoration of devolution.

However, the RHI scandal engulfing one political party, and the deliberate collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly by the other, means things have to change. People deserve the opportunity to choose a different direction.

Claire also believes that, regardless of your position on the constitution of Northern Ireland, the relationships between Britain and Ireland have been significantly strained by Brexit and require immediate reparation.

If elected, Claire will:

  • Push the UK and Irish Governments to up their game as co-guarantors of the Good Friday Agreement;
  • Seek a seat on the Northern Ireland Select Affairs Committee, and other relevant committees, to hold the UK Government to account for its commitments to Northern Ireland;
  • Support a review of good governance in Northern Ireland to restore public trust in the Executive and Assembly;
  • Fight for a proportionate and respectful approach to protocols on flags and bonfires in South Belfast; and,
  • Push for a review of the fiscal frameworks behind devolution like those that have taken place in Scotland and Wales.