The Ulster Unionist Party’s choice to follow in the footsteps of outgoing MLA Ross Hussey has said she belongs to the liberal end of the party.
Alicia Clarke (24) is the daughter of a Church of Ireland Minister but says she will not stand in the way of same sex marriage and thinks abortion should be left to the discretion of pregnant mothers up until a certain stage. However the political newcomer has said she is willing to listen to all views on such matters.
The UUP currently offers its members a free vote on matters of conscience.
Last week, as she officially entered the electoral race, Alicia Clarke responded to queries on social media on her own position on same sex marriage and abortion.
“As a Christian I believe that I am in no position to judge. I personally believe that homosexuality is against biblical teachings but I also believe that you should love your neighbour and not judge.
“Therefore I do not want to stand in the way of gay marriage. The decision should lie with individual churches,” she wrote.
In respect of abortion, the candidate said, “The bible actually does not see the loss of a foetus as death. It is referred to as a loss of property. Therefore I feel that up until the foetus is able to sustain life outside of the womb abortion should be at the mother’s discretion.”
In an ensuing debate with a member of the TUV, Ms Clarke added, “I want to clarify – I was quoting the bible when I said about “property”. The terminology used then can have a very different meaning than today. I was trying to illustrate that the bible did not consider the loss of a foetus in that situation as murder. I believe that until the foetus is able to live outside the womb abortion should be an option.”
Speaking afterwards to the Ulster Herald, the UUP candidate said, “I’m happy to be up front and honest about it, but equally for maybe more traditional people, I don’t want them to think I’m not listening or understanding their point of view.
“I don’t want to alienate other people with opinions different to mine, but I would be a bit more liberal than other unionists in the past.”
Ms Clarke said while she represents the views of many younger people, she said older members of society feel the same way.
“I’m trying to encourage younger people especially to come out and vote this time.”
Posted: 4:43 pm February 13, 2017