A Chat With Alliance Strangford Candidate Michelle Guy

Politics Feature: Alliance Strangford Candidate Michelle Guy Chats To Down News

The general election called by PM Rishi Sunak has thrown all the local parties in Northern Ireland into overdrive as candidates prepare for the Thursday 4th July Westminster election writes Jim Masson.

In the Strangford constituency, Alliance Party candidate Michelle Guy is challenging for the seat in Westminster held previously by Jim Shannon. and according to the Alliance election pundits, the gap is quite close and it could be a photo finish.

I caught up with Michelle Guy as she was canvassing in Crossgar this week and chatted to her about her life and how she has arrived at being a serious candidate for election, and how as a wife and mum of two she chose a life in the fast lane of politics.

Michelle Guy said: “I actually come from Teconnaught and many people there would know me by my maiden name, Davey.

Michelle Guy, a councillor on Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough Council, centre, and the Alliance candidate in the Westminster election in the Strangford constituency, gets some canvassing support from her councillor colleagues Tierna Howie (Slieve Croob DEA) and Cadogan Enright (Downpatrick DEA) on Newry Mourne and Down District Council during a canvass in Crossgar. (Photos by Jim Masson /Down News ©).

“My daughter attends Irish dancing classes in Belfast so I know what it is to be a ‘dance mum’ bringing her to dancing and events. And for relaxation I enjoy walking in the Mournes when I can. Also, I’m a Man Utd supporter too!

“I went to the Holy Family Primary School in Annacloy and then the Assumption Grammar School where I did an A-Level in politics and found it very interesting at that stage.

“My interest grew as a teenager and I joined the Alliance Party in 2015 and I’ve got really involved since then. But I did not see myself back then as candidate material.

“I went to Queen’s University, Belfast, after the Assumption GS and finished a law degree, but I found politics much more exciting than the dull courts so that’s where I ended up.

“I was impressed a lot with the contribution of the Women’s Coalition to politics. They were a breath of fresh air.

“When I joined Alliance initially. David Ford was the leader and I found him very supportive and then Naomi Long took over the reins and she is a great leader and communicator and has brought the party on to its next level.”

Michelle Guy is an Alliance councillor on Lisburn and Castlereagh Borough Council and has served as deputy mayor and deputy group leader for her party in Council, and was re-elected in 2019 when she topped the poll.

And to add to her rise up the political ladder, Michelle is also the chairperson of the Alliance Party in Northern Ireland.

She added: “I have a lot of experience as an elected councillor in the chamber and working with council and agencies. Alliance are a very supportive party to its members, and MLAs such as Nick Matheson have been very helpful. We all work well as a team together.”

Michelle Guy, centre, picture with her Alliance canvassers in Crossgar.

Michelle explained that she worked in the public sector and understands its culture and how it works adding that you need to be quite tenacious sometimes to get things done. And she has worked too in PR communications and with her grounding in law, she has a solid, professional foundation to build on.

“I really happy with the feedback I’ve received on the doors and my canvassers too are getting good vibes. It seems that the battle for the Strangford Westminster seat is going to be a two horse race – and a close one – between myself and Jim Shannon.

“The contest is more balanced this time round as the re-drawing of the southern boundary by the Boundary Commission in the constituency could see many nationalist voters voting strategically and hedging their bets to the best option to get a fresh candidate elected.

“What I have picked up at the doors out canvassing is that many people are apathetic. They are tired of the same old thing and are reluctant to come out and vote. This has to change.

“Hopefully they will see the surge in the Alliance vote as a good reason to get to the polls on voting day and help make that change. From the north side of Downpatrick, Crossgar, Ballynahinch and Saintfield, there are several thousand voters who COULD make a difference to the politics of this country and how it is run.

“But they need to use their vote! And vote Alliance… we are the third biggest party in the Assembly. Alliance stands for an inclusive society, one where we are all treated equally, in an open democratic and fair society.

“Today we launched the Alliance Party’s ELECTION MANIFESTO at the Ivanhoe Hotel in South Belfast.

“It offers a very positive approach to the problems in Northern Ireland. Priorities such as health and social care, education, housing, jobs, business, community, childcare, and the financial settlement for Northern Ireland are all important front line issues we will proactively continue to address in the Assembly … and at Westminster with a team of MPs.

“But at a more local level, what I am hearing on the doorsteps is that people are really affected by the rising cost-of-living. Inflation may be down slightly, but costs are still up there.

Michelle Guy, pictured during a canvass in Crossgar which is now part of the Strangford constituency.

“There are a number of key issues such as infrastructure, roads, the need for more social housing, better support for law and order, and more. If elected I will be addressing these local issues trying to make our area a better place to live in and work in.

“People are clearly tired of the same election orange and green politics that has dominated our political discussions and now they want to be freed from that. So this election is that chance! It’s about change for a better future for us all!

“So myself in the Strangford constituency, Naomi Long in East Belfast and Sorcha Eastwood in Lagan Valley could create a revolution in politics if elected as MPs here by a treble win. It would be a dream come true.

“Alliance also has Andrew McMurray MLA running in South Down for a Westminster seat and we wish him well in his canvass across quite a wide area in that constituency. In recent elections there has been a surge in people voting for Alliance and that reflects the mood for change.”

Michelle added that the canvass over the past few days has been very encouraging and said that the many nationalist voters who felt excluded in previous elections can now get out on the 4th July and vote for change with effect.

“I will represent everyone in the constituency equally and fairly. The times are changing. Let’s not be left behind again.

“Give the Alliance Party your vote this time round and we will all make a difference in Westminster with our solution-focussed leadership!” said Michelle Guy.

Check out the Alliance Party at:



Strangford Constituency Round-up.

In the 2019 Westminster election, Jim Shannon (DUP) won well on 17705 votes but his vote was down 14.8% and the Alliance vote went up by 13.7% with 10,635 voting for Alliance’s Kellie Armstrong.

With an increase in more nationalist votes within the new southern border area of the Strangford constituency agreed by the Boundary Commission, and a number of apathetic voters previously just switching off but now mobilising to Alliance, the gap could close even further.

And if some of the SDLP, Green Party, Sinn Féin, UUP and Independent voters decided to also use their votes tactically, then the gap closes even further and we have a close cut contest. The difference between the DUP and Alliance was just 7070 votes in 2019.

There are 40 councillors in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area and while the DUP are the biggest party on 14, Alliance hold 12 seats. This testifies to the growth and popularity of the Alliance Party in recent local council elections.

But the real acid test will be the Westminster election on Thursday 4th July. How the marginal party voters actually vote will make all the difference if the gap at all closes.

Therefore, the canvass in the run up to the election on the doorsteps has never been more important for Alliance in a Strangford constituency election.

Can they continue their rise in politics and secure seats in Westminster ? Their teams are looking very up-beat at the feedback they are getting as they are knocking on the doors across a number of constituencies.

But again, will orange and green politics prevail ? We’ll have to wait and see.

Alliance are doing their best to make sure this does not happen!


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